In early August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released updated economic and unemployment information for many major metropolitan areas nationwide, including Portland. Here are the major takeaways from that data – and how they will affect your hiring in the coming months.
Portland Employment by the Numbers
Here’s the latest employment outlook in the Portland area, according to BLS statistics:
- 1 percent. Portland’s current unemployment rate. It’s on track with the U.S. as a whole, and slightly higher than in surrounding Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties.
- $1,102. The average weekly wage in Portland, across all industries – and $20 higher than the national average.
- $25.07. The average hourly wage in Portland, across all industries – nearly $2 higher than the national average.
In many of the hottest industries, the average wage or salary is higher than the national average. But in some industries, such as software development, computer network support and semiconductor processing, it’s actually lower. For instance, the Portland area pays computer network support specialists $29.64 per hour on average, compared to a nationwide average of $32.33.
What Does This Mean for Our Business?
These numbers could be good news for Portland businesses – but they’ll require some creative planning in order to work to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know.
- Lower wages don’t necessarily mean cost savings for your business. In several industries, Portland is paying lower wages than the national average. But this may not be a cost savings for companies. The numbers indicate where Portland-area businesses are paying less in wages, they’re compensating with more generous healthcare, retirement and other benefits. To stay competitive with similar companies, you’re going to have to review your entire compensation package – not just the salary numbers.
- To control spending, look at staffing costs. Often, the people you need today aren’t the people you’ll need in six months. When you have a specialized project or a “rush” season, contract workers can offer you the opportunity to access high-quality skills and abilities while still controlling your staffing costs. Seasonal contract help is especially useful during the winter holiday months for many businesses.
Your Staffing Partner Can Help.
Staffing partners specialize in staying on top of the employment forecast and helping each client custom-tailor a plan that works for your company’s goals and culture. Don’t be afraid to ask for their insight in navigating how employment laws or trends might impact your business. Their advice can help your business remain agile and staffed strategically.
At TERRA Staffing Group, our experienced recruiters can help you stay on top of emerging trends in the Portland employment scene, giving you the power to find the best talent in less time. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Portland and beyond.