Summer 2023 Hiring Among Oregon’s Private Employers

by Anna Johnson

October 17, 2023

Each quarter, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers from all industries and areas of the state to ask about the job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. Oregon businesses reported 70,500 job vacancies in summer 2023. Vacancies increased 2% from the spring and decreased 25% from summer 2022. The number of vacancies is closer to levels seen prior to the pandemic, after a streak of four quarters above 100,000 vacancies in 2022. The pre-pandemic record high was 66,600 vacancies in summer 2017.

The number of private-sector job openings in the U.S. peaked at 11.4 million in April 2022. Openings over the last two years have significantly exceeded the previous high of 7.0 million seen in April 2019.

The unemployed-to-vacancy ratio for the U.S. and Oregon remained low in summer 2023. In July 2023, there were 8.6 million private-sector job openings in the United States, as measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and 6.4 million people were unemployed, resulting in a U.S. ratio of 0.7 unemployed people per job opening (or seven unemployed persons per 10 job openings). This is the ninth straight quarter at or below a ratio of 1.0. In July 2023, there were 83,000 unemployed Oregonians and the number of job vacancies was 70,500 leaving about one unemployed person for every job opening.Graph showing U.S. and Oregon Unemployed to Job Vacancy Ratios Still Low after Spring 2020 Peak

Most openings in the summer were for full-time, permanent positions. Education beyond high school was required for 36% of summer vacancies. A majority of employers reported their vacancies as difficult to fill, accounting for 57% of vacancies in summer 2023, down from 65% in summer 2022.

The average starting wage among this group of vacancies was around $23.81 per hour, an inflation-adjusted increase of 4% from summer 2022, but a 14% decrease from spring 2023. Vacancies increased 2% from the spring and decreased 25% from summer 2022. The number of vacancies offering a starting wage below $20 per hour decreased 34% over the year. The number of vacancies offering between $20 and $30 per hour decreased 12%, and vacancies paying above $30 per hour increased 1%.

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies, Summer 2023

Hiring demand was widespread throughout industries and occupations. Five out of 14 major sectors were hiring for more than 5,000 positions at any given time in summer 2023. Health care and social assistance had the most vacancies of any industry, with 19,200 vacancies. Leisure and hospitality and retail trade both followed, with about 9,200 openings each.

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies by Industry, Summer 2023

Employers reported vacancies in 200 different occupations. The occupation groups with the most vacancies in summer 2023 were food preparation and serving related (7,400), sales and related (7,400), and health care support (6,100). Detailed occupations reported most frequently included retail salespersons, cashiers, and nursing assistants.

Summer vacancies were distributed across the state, with the Portland tri-county area accounting for about 42%. Vacancies decreased over the year in every region of the state, with the largest declines in Northwest Oregon and the Portland Metro area.  

Table showing Oregon Job Vacancies by Geography Summer 2023

More details about Oregon Job Vacancies are available on, on the publications page under Job Vacancy Survey.

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