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Report shows increase in low-wage job vacancies in Eastern Oregon

Report shows increase in low-wage job vacancies in Eastern Oregon

Private employers in eastern Oregon were looking to fill about 1,250 job vacancies at any given time during 2013, according to new annual figures from the Oregon Employment Department’s Job Vacancy Survey. Roughly half offered starting wages below $10 per hour and few required more than a high school diploma. The Job Vacancy Survey provides a snapshot of the labor market that job seekers face.

Demand increasing for material movers in Eastern Oregon

Demand increasing for material movers in Eastern Oregon

Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers – accounted for more than two-fifths (44%) of all vacancies reported.

Wages offered for job vacancies varied with the education required. Nearly one-fourth (24%) of vacancies required a high school diploma and they offered an average hourly wage of $11.03 per hour. This compared with average hourly wages of $23.45 per hour for vacancies that required an associate degree (2 percent of total vacancies), $26.86 per hour for those needing a bachelor’s degree (5 percent of the total vacancies), and $32.97 for vacancies requiring a graduate degree (2 percent of the total vacancies).

Employers also offered higher wages when their vacancies required previous experience. Vacancies with no experience requirement paid an average of $9.57 per hour. Those requiring some experience but less than one year paid $12.29 per hour. For vacancies that required one to five years of previous work experience, the average wage offered was $18.39 per hour, while those that required five or more years of experience averaged $30.54 per hour.

The natural resources and mining industry accounted for more than one-fourth (26%) of all vacancies, far more than any other industry. Three industries each accounted for more than 10 percent of the region’s job vacancies: health care and social assistance; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and wholesale trade.

The Eastern Oregon region had the smallest share of job vacancies of any region in Oregon. Additionally, it had the lowest average hourly wage, the lowest share of permanent positions, the lowest percent of vacancies that require education beyond high school, and the lowest share of vacancies requiring previous experience.

The Job Vacancy Survey is designed to reflect the job market at a point in time; it is not a sum of all vacancies over the year. Businesses continually hire and lose employees as part of the churn of a normal labor market. The total number of hires by businesses over the course of a year may be twenty-five to thirty times the number reported in this survey.

The Oregon Job Vacancy Survey has been conducted since 2008. The 2013 Oregon Job Vacancy Survey results represent the first ever combination of four quarters worth of vacancy surveys. The estimates are based on responses from 10,600 Oregon employers statewide. Vacancy survey results for the first quarter of 2014 are scheduled for release in April 2014. A special report on Oregon’s difficult-to-fill vacancies will be available later this spring.

For more details on statewide and regional vacancies, visit the “publications” tab on and scroll down to the section titled “Oregon Job Vacancies.”

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