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Oregon Employment Dept. looks at the numbers to find the ‘whys’ behind the hiring squeeze

KTVZ file

Many workers retired, found jobs in other industries - or moved, gave up looking

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Several factors are at play, when it comes to why Oregon businesses are having extreme trouble finding workers, even after extra federal jobless benefits ran out, the state Employment Department said Wednesday.

Here's their explanation, in full:

When federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits expired on Sept. 4, about 81,000 people in Oregon saw their unemployment benefits end. This includes about 49,000 workers whose Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims ended, and about 32,000 whose Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits ended.

Workers whose PEUC claims ended had jobs with a payroll employer prior to the pandemic. By contrast, about four out of five PUA claimants were self-employed (not on an employer’s payroll) before the pandemic. For the workers whose PEUC benefits ended in September, the largest group, at 8,400, had jobs in Oregon’s hotels, restaurants, and bars before becoming unemployed. Health care and social assistance and retail trade were the next largest groups, at about 6,000 each.

There’s been some speculation that the end of federal pandemic unemployment benefits would also mark the end of recent labor shortages in Oregon and across the U.S. However, even though these benefits ended, it's still likely to be difficult for employers to hire as many workers as they'd like to in the coming weeks and months. Some industries have bigger job deficits to overcome than others. 

For example, the accommodation and food services industry is about 35,000 jobs below its pre-recession jobs level. So, even if each of the 8,400 claimants who lost their PEUC benefits went back to payroll jobs in hotels, restaurants, and bars, it would only fill 24% of the industry’s gap to a full jobs recovery.

Another challenge specific to accommodation and food services is that many workers moved on to other industries

Nearly 37,000 of the people who worked at Oregon’s hotels, restaurants, and bars between January and March of 2020 had moved on to a job in a different industry by the winter of 2021. That’s a concern for an industry rapidly trying to recover jobs lost to the pandemic.

Another 36,000 former accommodation and food services workers were no longer found working for any payroll employer in Oregon, and they weren’t on a UI claim either. These workers likely either moved out of the state, or they dropped out of the labor force.

There are many reasons someone may be out of the labor force, including retirement, going back to school, health concerns amid an ongoing pandemic, child care or self-employment constraints.

Research from the Employment Department, a prominent academic study and private-sector findings all suggest that a combination of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, increasing retirements and other labor force factors are contributing to continued worker shortages. 

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  1. Yea, It’s not the money,.
    It’s the jerks. I’d rather go broke than work with the jerks.
    No amount of money can compensate for having to interact with the jerks.

    Jerk Public, Jerk trolling jerks.
    Jerk Bosses (incompetent jerk boss)
    jerk coworkers.

      1. Then how else do you explain it? They still get free money and you know it. Regular unemployment, disability payments, social security and payments to ilegal aliens to start with.

        1. How do we explain it? Read the article. People changed industries , moved out of state, retired or stayed home and lived on one paycheck.

          Regular unemployment in Oregon is 26 weeks. Ran out long ago. Disability is a separate issue and the worker has to prove they qualify. You have to prove you can’t go back to work or train for a different job. Social Security is age tested. Too young. No go. Show me where Oregon cuts checks to non citizens. Don’t believe that’s true.

  2. I’m one of those that left the state because the mandates are ridiculous and I refuse to be dehumanized by mask or vaccine requirements. Best of luck to y’all.

  3. The Liberals are teaching everyone to just sit on ur butt and we will take care of you. We are beginning to see the effects of it all ready. I was taught if I want something I worked for it and by God I did. And I taught my child the same way. America is turning soft and it’s sickening

    1. Who sat home? The article points out that many people in the service/hospitality industries changed to other jobs. At least in Bend, wages are an issue. Even though they’ve been increasing recently, so have rents. The cost of living here is also a factor.

  4. Ok red one they “all” took different jobs I will give you that. Lol. What about all the homeless on let’s say hunnel road do they all have jobs or are they holding out for management positions like cousin Eddie.

  5. As long as it costs a half million to buy 1000 sq ft homes on 1/8 acre in a sketchy neighborhood here, our available workers will continue to decline. Thanks to the influx of people with enough money to push out anyone in the lower and middle class trying to earn a living working these jobs. Good luck finding someone to make you a hamburger or take care of you in the hospital. You made your beds. Sleep in it. “Come to Oregon. It’s great!” It was.

  6. I guess you couple the items in the article and the increase in snap benefits, and not having to pay rent for so long allowed people to “coast” guess we will see what happens in the next few months

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