Fall 2023 Hiring Among Oregon’s Private Employers

by Anna Johnson

January 25, 2024

Each quarter, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers from all industries and areas of the state to ask about the job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. Oregon businesses reported 65,200 job vacancies in fall 2023. Vacancies decreased 8% from the summer and decreased 24% from fall 2022. The number of vacancies is closer to levels seen prior to the pandemic, after a streak of four quarters above 100,000 vacancies in 2022. The pre-pandemic record high was 66,600 vacancies in summer 2017.

The number of private-sector job openings in the U.S. peaked at 11.4 million in April 2022. Openings over the last two years have significantly exceeded the previous high of 7.0 million seen in April 2019.

The unemployed-to-vacancy ratio for the U.S. and Oregon remained low in fall 2023. In October 2023, there were 8.4 million private-sector job openings in the United States, as measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and 6.1 million people were unemployed, resulting in a U.S. ratio of 0.7 unemployed people per job opening (or seven unemployed persons per 10 job openings). This is the tenth straight quarter at or below a ratio of 1.0. In October 2023, there were 71,900 unemployed Oregonians and the number of job vacancies was 65,200, leaving about one unemployed person for every job opening.

Graph showing U.S. and Oregon Unemployed to Job Vacancy Ratios Still Low after Spring 2020 Peak

Most openings in the fall were for full-time, permanent positions. Education beyond high school was required for 38% of fall vacancies. A majority of employers reported their vacancies as difficult to fill, accounting for 63% of vacancies in fall 2023, down from 75% in fall 2022.

The average starting wage among this group of vacancies was $25.62 per hour, an inflation-adjusted increase of 3% from fall 2022, and a 7% increase from summer 2023. Vacancies decreased 8% from the summer and decreased 24% from fall 2022. The number of vacancies offering a starting wage below $20 per hour decreased 52% over the year. The number of vacancies offering between $20 and $30 per hour increased 4%, and vacancies paying above $30 per hour decreased 16%.

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies, Fall 2023

Hiring demand was widespread throughout industries and occupations. Five out of 14 major sectors were hiring for more than 5,000 positions at any given time in fall 2023. Health care and social assistance had the most vacancies of any industry by far, with 20,500 vacancies. Construction followed with about 6,400 in fall 2023 and leisure and hospitality had 6,200 vacancies.

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies by Industry, Fall 2023

Employers reported vacancies in more than 200 different occupations. The occupation groups with the most vacancies in fall 2023 were health care support (6,300), health care practitioners and technical (5,700), and construction and extraction (5,600). Detailed occupations reported most frequently included personal care aides, business operations specialists, mental health counselors, and retail salespersons. 

Fall vacancies were distributed across the state, with the Portland tri-county area accounting for about 40%. Vacancies decreased over the year in every region of the state, except the East Cascades which increased 34%.

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies by Geography, Fall 2023

More details about Oregon Job Vacancies are available on QualityInfo.org, on the publications page under Job Vacancy Survey.

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