Oregon is a unique and remarkable state for many reasons and often overlooked (or forgotten). Today, at 98,000 square miles, Oregon is the ninth largest and, with a population of about 4 million, the 27th most populous U.S. state.
The Portland metropolitan area, which also includes the city of Vancouver, Washington, to the north, ranks the 23rd largest metro area in the nation, with an estimated population of 2,389,228.
Oregon is one of only five states that have no sales tax. Oregon voters have been resolute in their opposition to a sales tax, voting proposals down each of the nine times they have been presented. The state relies on property and income taxes for its revenue which makes it the fifth highest personal income tax in the nation.
Because of its diverse landscapes and waterways, Oregon's economy is largely powered by various forms of agriculture, fishing, and hydroelectric power. Oregon is also the top timber producer of the contiguous United States, and the timber industry dominated the state's economy in the 20th century. Technology is another one of Oregon's major economic forces, beginning in the 1970s with the establishment of the Silicon Forest and the expansion of Tektronix and Intel. Sportswear company Nike, Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, is the state's largest public corporation with annual revenue of $30.6 billion.
Oregon has good news – that may also be viewed as bad news. Oregon has record low unemployment, but some industries are facing a shortage of workers. The shortage of workers might be affecting you as well, depending on your type of business or industry. The challenge of recruiting qualified workers to meet production and service needs can become an ongoing time-consuming project – with no end in sight.
The unemployment rate might be enough of an indicator for you to ‘get creative with recruiting and pay higher wages.’ Before you leap, below are additional resources and data for you to consider.
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reports: “The labor market is tight, the share of prime working-age Oregonians with a job is back to mid-2000s rates across all levels of educational attainment. While this is certainly good news, the question being asked more frequently is about wage growth. There are plenty of jobs, but what about wages?” Below is one chart of many that are available for you to review as you develop a plan about wages based on QCEW, reported withholding taxes and BEA in Oregon.”
The predicament of ‘fake news’
When data is presented on official websites; reporters, researchers, bloggers, consultants drill deep enough to capture a piece and then share (or spin) the latest. By the time you read the headline, it has been twisted and turned inside out. While it may not be ‘fake news’, the small bits of information are filtered, can be taken out of context which could lead you down a path of poor decision making.
Farmers are experiencing labor shortages and looking for more creative solutions
(Note: The above news should not be considered 'fake news' but may not be relevant to you, making it equally as helpful.)
Something not referenced very often is the six alternative measures of labor underutilization which have long been available monthly from the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the United States as a whole.
The other six state measures based on the same definitions as those published for the U.S.:
They are published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Employment Situation news release.
We recommend that you bookmark and monitor the resources regarding Unemployment Statistics and Oregon Unemployment Statistics on a regular basis. For instance, if you are interested in unemployment stats for your state, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website or National Conference For State Legislation. You can also review a breakdown of the state of employment in Oregon and access Oregon’s Economy at a Glance here.
Each of these websites provides an abundant amount of data and statistics which can serve as a helpful guide when considering your next steps for hiring, growing and compensating your staff.
Other sources for statistics about your state:
With the recent trend of cities and counties creating independent minimum wage regulations, it will be more difficult to take unemployment data at face value without deeper analysis. For instance, in Oregon there are three minimum wage rates. Enacted by the 2016 Oregon Legislature, Senate Bill 1532 established a series of annual minimum wage rate increases beginning July 1, 2016 through July 1, 2022. Beginning July 1, 2023, the minimum wage rate will be indexed to inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a figure published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to a new standard minimum wage rate, the Oregon bill set a separate rate for employers located in the urban growth boundary of a metropolitan service district. (Currently, only the Portland metropolitan area has an urban growth boundary.) Finally, a third-rate applies within certain "non urban" counties named in the bill:
These new regulations certainly add complexity to doing payroll. Is your county in an urban or non urban area? Which rate applies? Our Oregon bookkeeper and accounting professionals know these answers and many more. Please feel free to contact us here to talk about your payroll or bookkeeping needs.
Regardless of the impact recent shortages of qualified workers, when it comes to bookkeeping, payroll, or accounting, we remain flexible to give you the support and services you need. We can provide services at your location, online, part-time, interim or full-time.
Please reach out to Eric Moore today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free: (800) 931-6557.
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