Virus upends Oregon who’s hiring, who’s firing


By Oregon Employment Department,

The total estimate of job vacancies at any given time in 2020 dropped 22% from the level in 2019, as the pandemic shuttered businesses and stalled hiring, especially in the spring at the onset of business restrictions. Still, employers were hiring for a wide variety of jobs in 2020; they reported vacancies across 357 different occupations.

Occupations with the highest number of job vacancies in 2020 reflected the necessity of jobs that relate to the pandemic and the changing business practices associated with it. They included heavy truck drivers (1,800); nursing assistants (1,400); personal care aides (1,400); retail salespersons (1,300); stockers and order fillers (1,100); production workers (1,000); fast food and counter workers (1,000); and cashiers (1,000).

While overall hiring demand dropped in 2020, most job vacancies continued to be for full-time, permanent jobs. The only top occupation hiring for mostly part-time jobs was fast food and counter workers, with just 11% of vacancies reported as full-time openings. Among retail salesperson vacancies, two out of three were full-time. Employers were looking to permanently fill jobs with remarkable consistency – among most occupations nine out of 10 openings were permanent. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers had the lowest share of permanent jobs among these top occupations, at 78%.

For about half of 2020 job vacancies, employers reported they had difficulty filling the job. Employers seemed to experience more difficulty in 2020 when hiring for jobs that require a particular type of training beyond high school, like for truck drivers and nursing assistants. Employers didn’t have much difficulty filling the many jobs that opened up to stock store shelves and fill orders, and to serve customers in fast food establishments.

Read the full article by economist Jessica Nelson here