Top Occupations Oregon Employers Were Hiring in 2022 Job Vacancies

by Jessica Nelson

March 1, 2023

The total estimate of Oregon job vacancies hit a record level of about 104,000 in 2022, increasing 7% from the previous record seen in 2021 (97,000). In 2022, the number of job vacancies was 82% above the level in 2019, at the end of a long economic expansion and just before the onset of the pandemic. Amid the rapid job recovery and growth that took place in 2022, employers were hiring for a wide variety of jobs; they reported vacancies across 435 different occupations.

Throughout the year, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers with two or more employees from all industries and areas of the state to ask about job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. For each vacancy, the employer provides the job title, starting wage, and education and experience requirements for the job. Details about the record volume of vacancies are available in Oregon Job Vacancies: Hiring in 2022 Continued to Outpace Hiring Prior to the Pandemic.  

Job Titles with the Most Hiring Activity

Occupations with the highest number of job vacancies in 2022 reflected conditions of the rapid job recovery and growth, including a diminished supply of workers as the year went on and businesses attempted to fill large numbers of open positions in all industries and regions of the state. Hiring for the health care sector surged, as it continued to face the constraints and stresses of providing care in an ongoing pandemic. Increased turnover and competition for workers across the economy drove demand for particular occupations. Occupations with the most openings in 2022 included retail salespersons (3,500); personal care aides (3,200); nursing assistants (3,200); restaurant cooks (3,000); heavy truck drivers (2,600); and fast food and counter workers (2,500).
Graph showing top occupations in Oregon with the highest number of job vacancies, 2022

While overall hiring demand expanded in 2022, most job vacancies continued to be for full-time, permanent jobs. In most of the top occupations, at least seven out of 10 openings were full-time. Jobs more likely to be part-time included fast food and counter workers, food preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, and bartenders.

Employers were looking to permanently fill jobs with remarkable consistency – among most occupations nine out of 10 openings were permanent. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers (75%) and general maintenance and repair workers (78%) had the lowest shares of permanent jobs among these top occupations.

More jobs stayed open for an extended period in 2022. About one out of three 2022 vacancies had been open for 60 days or longer when they were reported to the survey, similar to the trend in 2021. In 2019, one out of six vacancies had been open for 60 days or longer. Among occupations with more than 1,000 vacancies in 2022, those with the highest shares open 60 or more days included bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (49%); bartenders (43%); and landscaping and groundskeeping workers (40%).

Employers continued to report difficulty filling open positions in 2022, with 72% of Oregon job vacancies described as difficult to fill. Prior to and during the pandemic, closer to half of vacancies were reported as difficult to fill. Of occupations with more than 1,000 job vacancies in 2022, only general office clerks had less than half of vacancies (44%) considered difficult to fill. Over 90% of job vacancies for restaurant cooks, bartenders, and personal care aides were considered difficult to fill.

Pandemic Hiring Activity by Broad Category

The detailed occupations in the first table, those with more than 1,000 vacancies in 2022, accounted for 46% of all vacancies reported. Vacancies were reported in a total of 435 occupations over the course of the year. Summing these openings up by broad occupation group gives us a more thorough sense of the hiring happening in 2022.
Graph showing Oregon job vacancies by occupation group, 2022

Food preparation and serving occupations, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support occupations had the largest numbers of vacancies in 2022. A total of nine occupation groups had more than 5,000 vacancies apiece at any given time in 2022, the same as in 2021 and up from three groups in 2019 experiencing that volume of hiring.

Most occupation groups, 16 out of 23, had more job vacancies in 2022 than in 2021. In total, the number of job vacancies in 2022 was 7% above the level in 2021. Job openings more than doubled from the 2021 level in legal, protective services, management, personal care and service, and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations.

Employers faced many challenges throughout the pandemic. The roller-coaster has included pandemic restrictions and supply chain issues, changing business practices and consumption patterns, the real risks of the virus, and a tighter than anticipated labor supply as the pandemic continued. The Oregon economy moved from full employment in 2019, to a deep recession and partial recovery in 2020, to a race to hire in 2021 and 2022.

By August 2022, Oregon recovered all of the jobs lost in March and April 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Job growth continued throughout the year. As we move forward, the mix of job openings might change with a return to a more typical business climate, but the characteristics of Oregon job vacancies have remained consistent despite economic turbulence.

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