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2022 ‘very unusual job market’ analyzed in Oregon report

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Staffing shortages have been widely reported in Oregon and across the country as businesses struggle to recover from the decimating economic blow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The third in the state “Oregon Talent Assessment” confirms hiring has been difficult – with 84% of employers reporting difficulty filling vacancies – and the report finds many other difficulties in what it calls a ‘very unusual job market’ created by a health emergency public and government response to the crisis.

One of the hopes of the assessment is that it will help inform the implementation of Future Ready Oregon – a $200 million labor spending bill that the US Legislature Oregon adopted earlier this year.

Related: Oregon lawmakers invest $200 million in jobs

“The results of this year’s talent assessment will help inform employer and community collaboration in implementing Future Ready Oregon’s unprecedented investment program,” said Anne Mersereau, President of Workforce Talent Development. State Board, in a statement. “Employers and partners have shown a desire to collaborate with college and workforce partners in a variety of ways to create equitable pathways to prosperity, and the more we know, the better we can use that data. to adapt our strategies to better serve all Oregonians during this time. time of change.

The talent assessment was developed by economic consulting firm ECONorthwest for the Oregon Workforce and Talent Development Council and Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The assessment notes that the state’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low, but employment levels have still not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The assessment also notes that, by some indicators, Oregon’s labor market is doing better than the national average, with a slightly higher labor force participation rate.

The report notes the complex state of hiring and workforce development in 2022. For example, the report’s analysis of different employment sectors found that shortages were not universal.

A file photo of a sign asking for help is displayed in a restaurant window. Staffing shortages have been widely reported by employers in Oregon and nationwide,

Matt Rourke/AP

The assessment confirmed the state’s ongoing and long-standing need for more healthcare workers, such as registered nurses and dental assistants. Service jobs, including food service, also account for a large number of projected job openings. On the other hand, he found that the number of people earning technology-related credentials appears to far exceed the number of expected job openings in the relevant fields.

The pandemic has had a mixed impact on the skills development of workers and managers, according to the report. Employers reported that while there was less access to hands-on learning – especially for people like vocational and technical students – the pandemic has helped increase the growth of digital, leadership and skills. soft skills, such as their reliability, empathy and teamwork.

However, of employers who said their staff were not “fully competent”, most said the main reasons were a lack of professional and soft skills. The 2022 assessment notes that employer complaints about lack of soft skills and inadequate preparation for specific jobs is not a new problem. They appeared in previous reviews, long before the COVID-19 pandemic.