Wholesale Trade Most Likely to Offer Full-time Benefits

More than half (59%) of all private employers offered health benefits to some or all employees. Offerings differed by industry and employee type. Three-fourths of employers in wholesale trade and information offered health benefits to full-time employees. Meanwhile, two out of 10 employers extended health benefits to part-time workers in the industries with the most prevalent offerings. Those industries included private education services, health care, and professional and technical services.

Largest Effect of Offering Health Benefits Is High Cost

Two-thirds of employers that provided health benefits said high cost was the most important effect on their business or workforce over the past year. Employers said the high cost of providing health benefits impacted their budgets, reduced their profits, and placed financial burden on their companies. One out of 10 employers cited little or no effect of providing health benefits on their business or workforce. Another one out of 10 reported the positive workforce recruitment and retention impacts of their health benefit offerings.

Employers Say They Are Most Likely to Bear High Cost of Health Benefits

Two-thirds (67%) of employers that provided health benefits said their high cost was the most important effect on their business or workforce over the past year. Within this high cost category, many employers specified where the high cost burden of providing health benefits fell. Almost one-fourth (23%) cited employer burden, such as lost profits or strain on budgets. Another 19 percent said employees took on the burden of high health insurance costs, such as higher deductible plans, higher co-pays, or discontinued coverage. Some of these employers (9%) mentioned shared cost burden between the business and employees.

Employers Focus on Positive Impacts of Retirement Benefits

More than one-fourth (29%) of employers cited little or no effect of retirement benefit offerings on their business or workforce. They were far more likely to cite the positive impacts of retirement offerings than health benefits. About one-fifth (22%) said their retirement benefits created hiring and retention advantages. Another 10 percent noted the positive benefits of employees participating and saving for future retirement.

Most Eligible Employees Enroll for Health and Retirement Benefits

Across all industries, 76 percent of eligible employees enrolled for health benefits. That was 10 percentage points higher than the enrollment rate for retirement benefits (66%). Higher health benefit enrollment persisted across most industries, and for both full-time and part-time employees. Exact reasons for this difference are unknown, but the higher immediate cost of health insurance could be a driver. By comparison, retirement seems far-off and less concrete for much of the current workforce.

Larger Employers Are More Likely to Offer Benefits

Across the board, as employer size class increased, so did the likelihood that a firm offered health, retirement, and the most common pay and leave benefits. Differences peaked in overall health and retirement offerings, where the share of large employers (50+ employees) offering benefits outpaced small employers (less than 10 employees) by more than 50 percentage points. The share of mid-sized firms (10 to 49 employees) offering benefits generally reflected the trend for all size categories.

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Non-metropolitan Areas Less Likely to Offer Benefits

At least half of all companies in Portland and the Willamette Valley offered health, retirement, and each of the most common leave and pay benefits. Wholly non-metropolitan areas - the Columbia Gorge and Basin, the Oregon Coast, and Eastern Oregon - had the fewest employers with these benefit offerings.

State Employment Economist