Oregon Employment Dept. says there’s more job availability than unemployed workers

MEDFORD, Ore. – Employers across Oregon are still looking for workers. Wednesday the Oregon Employment Department weighed in. But state economists say it’s not laziness we’re seeing, but the change of expectations that employees have in the workplace.

It’s an issue that’s only increased in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What the pandemic has done is really revealed and intensified labor shortages that the industry was already experiencing,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist for the Oregon Employment Dept.

Krumenauer said things won’t simply go back to normal post-pandemic. The Oregon Employment Department said there are now 7 job seekers for every 10 employers looking to hire. Meaning there are simply more available jobs than there are unemployed people in the state.

“We’ve really seen that it’s been a job-seekers market,” said Krumenauer.

Many employers are even raising rates, adding benefit packages, and even signing bonuses to attract workers.

“There are some possible, solutions or opportunities in that, but there are still some real headwinds, even after the short-term covid things clear up,” said Krumenauer.

The agency said its also seen a 20% decrease in work migration.

“The lower net in-migration makes it more difficult to find workers in the future,” said Krumenauer,” I think that speaks to other things that are going on, availability and affordability of housing.”

The state said a survey showed that many people were scared of working over COVID-19 fears for themselves or their loved ones.

Thursday the employment department will release the unemployment rates for December. That will give Oregonians a snapshot of how the job market looked right before the Omicron wave hit.

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