Throughout the 1990s, Oregon enjoyed a 20 percent population boom that continued until the most recent economic recession. Despite a slowdown in migration at the end of the last decade, the census bureau estimates that since 2010, Oregon's population has grown another 2.6 percent, from 3,831,073 to 3,930,065. According to the April 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS.gov) figures, 1,927,900 comprise Oregon's civilian labor force.
More than 43 percent of Oregon's population is concentrated in the upper northwest portion of the state in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. Portland, in Multnomah County, dwarfs all other Oregon cities with its population estimated at 603,106 as of 2013. Its neighboring cities of Beaverton -- world headquarters of multinational corporation, NIKE Inc. -- and Hillsboro have a combined population of almost 190,000.
Trained employees in Oregon are in demand to fill jobs that require more than just a high school degree, yet often less than four years of college. In a 2013 survey by State of Oregon Employment Department, employers reported 48 percent of the 32,602 job openings in Oregon were "difficult to fill." Many -- 29 percent -- were jobs "requiring postsecondary education but not a college degree."
Oregon vocational schools: education to help fill in-demand jobs
Statistics tracked by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis show that as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, there may be an increased demand for more health care workers across the state. Other strong employment growth industries include construction and professional and business services, according to BLS.gov. In addition to new job creation, an aging population is creating a need to replace retiring employees.
Here is a cross section of some of the jobs in Oregon that are going unfilled because of the lack of qualified employees with the postsecondary training and/or certifications necessary to get hired. Take a look at the percentages of these high-growth occupations through 2022 and the number of annual job openings for each from ProjectionsCentral.com:
- Roofers. 39.5 percent, 120 annual job openings
- Physical therapist aides. 36.5 percent, 40 annual job openings
- Physical therapist assistants. 32.0 percent, 30 annual job openings
- Nursing assistants. 20.4 percent, 530 annual job openings
- Electricians. 17.7 percent, 270 annual job openings
- Registered nurses. 16.2 percent, 1,090 annual job openings
While roofing jobs are forecast to grow at 39.5 percent and positions for registered nurses at only 16.2 percent, far more opening are forecast for nurses annually than for roofers.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for all Oregon occupations was $45,780 as of May 2013. You can see how the annual earning potential for each of the occupations above stack up:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Physical Therapist Aides||700||26940|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||540||53970|
If you are looking at your future in Oregon and want to compete for these and other "hard-to-fill" jobs, take a look at Oregon vocational schools as you search for careers with the quickest routes to employment and earnings.
"Almost Half of Oregon's Job Vacancies Are Difficult to Fill," State of Oregon Employment Department, Jessica Nelson, June 2014, http://www.qualityinfo.org/pubs/difficult.pdf
Economy at a Glance, Oregon, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.or.htm
Employment Projections by Industry and Occupations, 2012-2022, Oregon and Regional Summary, Gail Krumenauer, April 2014, http://www.qualityinfo.org/pubs/projections/projections.pdf
Long-term occupational projections through 2022, Oregon, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Occupational Employment Statistics, Oregon, May 2013, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_or.htm#00-0000
OREGON'S DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS, Office of Economic Analysis, Department of Administrative Services, Oregon.gov, November
Oregon QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41000.html