Oregon Employment Department
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News Releases
Oregon's Unemployment Rate Edged Down to 4.1% in December - 01/20/22

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in December, edging down from 4.2% in November. This was the 20th consecutive month of declines in Oregon’s unemployment rate. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 4.2% in November to 3.9% in December. 

Nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 8,200 in December, following a revised gain of 9,200 jobs in November. Throughout 2021, monthly job gains averaged 8,900. In December, gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+2,600 jobs), health care and social assistance (+1,200), manufacturing (+900), and professional and business services (+900). None of the major industries had a big drop in jobs during December.

Leisure and hospitality added 2,600 jobs in December, following a gain of 3,700 in November. Despite these gains, leisure and hospitality still accounts for a large share of Oregon’s jobs not recovered since early 2020, with 23,200 jobs left to recover to reach the prior peak month of February 2020. The industry has regained 79% of jobs lost early in the pandemic.

Manufacturing added 900 jobs in December and 1,000 jobs in November, continuing its steady recovery over the past year and a half. Recent job gains were strongest in nondurable goods manufacturing, including food manufacturing which employed 28,700 in December, a level close to each of the four Decembers prior to the recession.

Administrative and waste services added jobs at a fast clip, averaging 1,400 per month over the past four months. Demand is hot for temporary help supply and employee leasing firms, as the employment services industry added 9,500 jobs, good for 25% growth, over the year. These gains were countered by declines in another component industry: business support services, which has steadily declined from 16,000 jobs six years ago to 9,900 jobs in December 2021. Reductions within the category were concentrated in telephone call centers, and to a lesser extent, copy shops.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the December county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Jan. 25, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for January on Tuesday, Mar. 8.
 

The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.

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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Oregon Employment Department to Hold Media Availability - 01/18/22

WHO:                David Gerstenfeld, Acting Director, Oregon Employment Department 

WHEN:              Wednesday, 1 p.m. PST, Jan. 19, 2022

WHAT:           The Oregon Employment Department is hosting a video conference media availability with Acting Director David Gerstenfeld and State Employment Economist Gail Krumenauer.  

WHERE:            Via Zoom video conference: Members of the media must RSVP by emailing  OED_Communications@employ.oregon.gov by 12 p.m. PST on Wed., Jan. 19. Video conference information will be provided to all reporters who RSVP. RSVPs must indicate if the reporter wants to ask a question of the presenters.

OTHER:             The Oregon Employment Department is updating a claims processing progress data dashboard weekly. Visit this link for weekly updates. After the briefing concludes, a recording of the video conference will be emailed to reporters who RSVP’d. 

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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 953-2366. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services. 

Jan. 13, 2022 Oregon Employment Department Media Statement - 01/13/22

Our next media availability is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wed., Jan. 19

Economic Update

Today the Employment Department published the latest results from the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey. Oregon’s private employers reported 103,000 job vacancies between October and December 2021. While that’s a slight decline (-4%) from the record-high 107,000 job openings reported in summer 2021, employers are still actively recruiting for 88% more job openings than they were at the end of 2020.

Hiring demand between October and December 2021 was widespread across Oregon’s economy. Five different sectors had at least 10,000 job vacancies. They included health care and social assistance; construction; retail trade; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing.

Employers were also reporting near-record difficulty filling vacancies. Three out of four job openings (76%) were identified as hard to fill in the fall. In both Oregon and the U.S., there are more job openings than there are unemployed people. For every seven unemployed workers, there are 10 job openings. There just aren’t enough workers for this near-record high number of job openings.

Oregon’s private health care sector reported even greater difficulty, with 9 out of 10 job openings (87%) identified by employers as hard to fill between October and December. Oregon’s health care sector has both the largest number of job openings (16,000), and the largest number of hard-to-fill vacancies (13,900) in the state. Personal care aides, nursing assistants, and registered nurses accounted for the majority (57%) of difficult-to-fill vacancies in health care.

More details about Oregon Job Vacancies are also available on QualityInfo.org, on the publications page under Job Vacancy Survey.

Hiring Healthcare Heroes Job Fair a Success

Nearly 150 employers from across Oregon met yesterday with approximately 300 job seekers during the statewide “Hiring Heroes for Healthcare” virtual and in-person job fair. The job fair was sponsored by the Oregon Employment Department and its WorkSource Oregon partners.

“It is rewarding to connect talented people with Oregon employers. We advertised this event to people working in California, Washington and Idaho, and we are encouraged with the out-of-state participation in our virtual hiring events," said Adalberto Rubio, OED business service analyst.

The next statewide job fair will be in March 2022; however, local offices continue hosting smaller hiring events regularly. “We encourage people to check the events page at WorksourceOregon.org or WorkSource Oregon LinkedIn page,” Rubio said.

Department Issues Scam Alert

The Department has discovered that scammers are calling Oregonians pretending to be with the Employment Department. These scammers are masking their phone number so it looks like the call is coming from an OED phone number.

“The Oregon Employment Department will never ask you to provide your credit card information for you to receive benefits,” said Sara Cromwell, unemployment insurance division deputy director for benefits. “If you are unsure if the phone call is a scam, hang up. Then call us or fill out a Contact us form. We have short phone wait times now, and we are quickly responding to Contact Us inquiries.” 

2020 UI Fraud Report Issued

Paying unemployment benefits in a timely manner, while protecting the Oregon UI Trust Fund, is a core principle of the Oregon Employment Department. Fraudulent claims are an ongoing concern of the department and other UI programs throughout the nation. 

That concern was greatly heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic health crisis, due in part to the increased financial incentives for fraudsters. This week, OED is sharing the Unemployment Insurance Fraud - Calendar Year 2020 report.

“The good news is that Oregon has not seen losses on the scale of some other states,” said Lindsi Leahy, unemployment insurance division director. 

Fraud occurs when a person intentionally provides false or misleading information to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. During the time of skyrocketing pandemic related workloads, preventing fraud became an even greater challenge for the UI system nationally and in Oregon. 

Oregon’s low rate of pandemic era UI fraud compared to some other states is due to the dedication of OED employees who diligently worked to keep up on ever-changing trends in UI fraud and prevent it along with their vigilant efforts to protect Oregon’s UI Trust Fund. Leahy, the Department’s UI division director, serves on the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Integrity Center steering committee, where fraud prevention is a top priority. 

“Fraud remains a significant threat to Oregon’s UI system, but we continue dedicating significant resources and efforts to combat it,” Leahy said. 

The figures in the report represent a snapshot in time. OED continues to receive tips and investigate other potential fraud for benefits paid in 2020. This means that report numbers will increase as more cases are confirmed. This data also does not reflect the many fraudulent or ID theft claims that the department caught before any benefits were paid.

During the height of the pandemic, OED declined to answer specific questions about fraud to prevent the disclosure of information that could be used by fraudsters to further scam the system. 

“Now that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program has ended and work in the program is winding down, we can publicly share some information about fraud that occurred in calendar year 2020 without creating undue further risk,” Leahy said.

Department Sending 1099G Tax Forms

The Oregon Employment Department is sending more than 400,000 1099G tax forms to people who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2021. 

1099G is used for people filing federal and state income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Oregon Department of Revenue. 

People can expect to receive the 1099G form by Jan. 31, 2022. The form will be on the Online Claims System in February under the tab “1099G Tax forms” toward the bottom of the page.

Sara Cromwell, unemployment insurance division deputy director for benefits, urges people to inform the Employment Department if they receive a 1099G and did not claim benefits in 2021. “If you didn’t file a claim last year, this means someone may be trying to steal your ID. Please complete our online ID theft form or call 503-947-1995, so we can review the claim for possible fraud,” she said. 

More information on the 1099G form is at unemployment.oregon.gov. For more information on what to do if your identity has been stolen, visit the IRS website.

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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: 971-673-6400. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Employment Department and WorkSource Oregon Host Statewide Healthcare In-Person and Virtual Job Fairs on Jan. 12 - 01/06/22

Jan. 6, 2022 (Salem, OR)—The Oregon Employment Department and WorkSource Oregon Hiring Heroes in Healthcare event was so successful, virtual and in-person events are being scheduled again on Wed., Jan. 12, 2022. 

“Demand was high at last year’s event. We helped employers find workers and people find fulfilling work,” said Adalberto Rubio, OED business service analyst. “Job vacancies continue, however, and we know more work needs to be done.”

The goal of the statewide job fair is to fill openings in direct healthcare and other positions that support the healthcare industry, like food service, facilities and business administration. 

More than 75 employers have signed up to participate in this event, and the job fair again is being marketed in California, Idaho and Washington to recruit out-of-state job seekers to Oregon healthcare open positions. 

WorkSource Oregon helps connect employers and qualified job-seekers interested in the healthcare field. The Oregon Employment Department is one of WorkSource Oregon’s partner agencies.

WorkSource Oregon and its partners offer an array of programs and services to explore like: 

  • Training at an approved institution for in-demand occupations, including assistance with tuition and other associated costs, such as textbooks  
  • Fee assistance for licensure testing or preparatory classes for testing 
  • Placement in on-the-job training or work experiences with employers 
  • Entrance into apprenticeship programs or other earn-and-learn opportunities 
  • Supportive payments that would lead to success in training (e.g. gas vouchers) 
  • Paying for necessary equipment or clothing needed for job opportunities 

People can register for the events online and visit the WorkSource Oregon LinkedIn page for this job fair and other hiring events with a focus on healthcare.

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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request at no cost to individuals with disabilities. Contact: 971-673-6400. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Jan. 6, 2022 Oregon Employment Department Media Statement - 01/06/22

Our next media availability is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wed., Jan. 19

Economic update

Although the new year has begun, the Oregon Employment Department is still looking at 2021 in terms of labor market data. January through November of 2021 showed strong recovery across most areas of the economy. Oregon employers added 100,000 jobs in the first 11 months of the year. 

Strong hiring and ongoing, high levels of job openings also seem to be creating confidence for workers about their prospects to find another job. A record 4.5 million U.S. workers (or 3% of the workforce) quit their jobs in November. Oregon has a similar rate of workers quitting jobs. The most recent state-level data show 3% of Oregon workers quit in October.

It is too soon for any data to reflect the impact of the latest wave of the pandemic. Any potential employment effects from the omicron variant are unlikely to be reflected in Oregon’s upcoming unemployment rate and jobs numbers for December. That is because COVID case counts started rising at the end of the month. The surveys of households and businesses that help determine the unemployment rate and monthly jobs changes took place in the middle of December.

“We can anticipate that more COVID spread in our communities might have larger impacts on parts of the economy providing in-person services,” said State Employment Economist Gail Krumenaur. “Some of these sectors – such as private health care, and both public and private education – were already struggling to regain or add jobs prior to the omicron wave of COVID-19.” 

COVID-19 still poses a barrier to some Oregonians’ ability to work. Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 13, the Census Household Pulse survey shows 46,000 adults in Oregon who weren’t working said the main reason was fear of getting or spreading COVID. Nearly 34,000 Oregon adults said they weren’t working because they either had COVID or were caring for someone with COVID or coronavirus symptoms.

 

Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program Welcomes New Deputy Director

With the new year, Juan Serratos assumed his new position as the deputy director for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program. Serratos started on Monday, Jan. 3. 

Serratos has spent the better part of two decades working in the public sector. Before joining OED, he was a manager for the Oregon Department of Human Services, Self-Sufficiency program, where he helped transform operations and fostered an inclusive and welcoming environment. He also worked for the Oregon Department of Justice, Division of Child Support, where he led his team through the modernization of the state’s Child Support Case Management computer system.

PFMLI Director Karen Humelbaugh continues recruiting for other key leadership positions, “We plan on making more announcements soon,” she said.

 

Equity and Inclusion Consultant Starts Working with OED Teams

The department has started working with Subduction Consulting for three key teams within our agency – PFMLI, Unemployment Insurance Tax and Modernization. 

Subduction’s expertise is in conflict transformation for organizational equity services. The Department chose these three teams as they are integral to rolling out the PFMLI program. Subduction will work with these teams to identify current organizational dynamics, perspectives, and their collective understanding of equity concepts. The consultants will also provide executive coaching, leadership team strategy sessions, and team-building capacity sessions.

Subduction is certified through the Oregon Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID), and its team has more than 20 years of experience in organizational equity, conflict resolution, and community development, and they collaborate with other organizations and BIPOC colleagues across the state to provide trainings and consultation. 

Their work centers the voices, experiences, and wisdom of the most historically impacted (those living at the intersections of race, class and gender). Through its work with Subduction, the goal is to build relationships, capacity and momentum to transform the department’s organizational culture and systems towards more equitable outcomes for both customers and employees.

 

Some Claimant Benefits May Be Reduced with Expiring Laws

As a reminder, starting this week (ending Jan. 8), if a person claims a week of benefits, they may receive a lower weekly benefit amount if they are working part-time and receiving benefits. This change is due to the expiration of temporary, pandemic-related provisions in SB 1701 and HB 3178. 

These two laws allowed people to earn up to $300 a week and still receive unemployment insurance benefits without having those earnings reducing their weekly benefit amount. This helped more people continue receiving unemployment while working part-time. However, this temporary legislation expired Jan. 1, 2022.

Starting this month, the income limit will be whichever is higher

  • One-third of the claimant’s weekly benefit amount; or          
  • Ten times Oregon’s highest minimum wage—which is now $14 per hour, so this would be $140. 

This means a person’s unemployment insurance benefit amount will be reduced dollar for dollar if they report earnings over those income limits. If a person earns more than their weekly benefit amount for a claimed week, they would not be eligible for benefits that week.

These laws helped Oregonians continue to receive optimal benefits during a time when they were needed the most. From May to Nov. 2021, more than 48,000 people benefited from the law and approximately $21 million in additional benefits was paid. That does not include the additional $300 federal weekly supplement this law allowed some people to qualify for. 
 

Hiring Heroes for Healthcare Statewide Job Fair

The Oregon Employment Department and our WorkSource Oregon partners are hosting an upcoming statewide “Hiring Heroes for Healthcare” virtual and in-person job fair on Wednesday, Jan. 12. 

Hosted by WorkSource Oregon partners, the event will feature more than 50 employers from across Oregon who will share information about job openings for nurses, technicians, food service workers and other positions found in typical healthcare settings.

This event was conducted virtually a few months ago, and was so successful that the Department and WorkSource Oregon partners decided to do it again. 

Job seekers are encouraged to contact their local WorkSource Oregon center for more information on their local event.

 

Overpayment Waivers Can Help People Avoid Paying Back Benefits

Unemployment insurance benefits play a vital role in helping people stay in their homes and keeping communities strong. However, if someone receives benefits for which they were not eligible, they will have to pay the money back. For many, receiving an overpayment notice can be scary and add stress to an already difficult time in people’s lives.

When Oregonians received benefit payments during the pandemic, they received funds from many different temporary federal programs and the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits program. That means there are multiple programs, each with different waiver requirements for overpayments. With so many federal and state laws at play, claimants may not know for which waiver to apply. 

The Employment Department has a “no wrong door” approach to waivers.  Once a request is made, the department will work with each person to ensure they complete the right form and provide the correct information, regardless of which waiver they applied for. For example, if someone applies for a Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) waiver request and they qualify for a state waiver, the department will help them complete the correct waiver request form.

In 2021, the department conducted outreach regarding waivers. People were notified through media briefings, social media posts, and weekly email updates and targeted email campaigns.

To reduce confusion, the Employment Department rolled out targeted communications to different groups who may be eligible for an overpayment waiver, starting with those for the federal pandemic programs. 

The Department will be reaching out to claimants who may be eligible for state waivers later this month.

The Department encourages any claimant who received an overpayment notice to request an overpayment waiver if repayment of that overpayment would be a financial hardship. 

  • If they were overpaid state benefits – which is regular unemployment insurance – they should use the state waiver form.
  • If they were overpaid federal benefits such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), or Lost Wages Assistance (LWA), they should use this federal waiver form.

If a person doesn’t have their overpayment notice or needs help figuring out which waiver to use, they should use the department’s online Contact Us form or call 503-947-1995. 


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Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: 971-673-6400. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

News Advisory: 2022 Employment Survey and Unemployment Rate News Release Dates - 01/04/22

The targeted dates for national, state, and local-area releases of the employment survey and unemployment rate data have been set for 2022. The release of these data for the U.S. will be available at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time, while data for Oregon and the local areas will be available at 10:00 a.m. on the following dates.

 

Reference Month

United States

(5:30 am Pacific Time)

Oregon

(10:00 am)

Oregon Counties

(10:00 am)

December 2021Jan. 7, 2022  FridayJan. 20, 2022  ThursdayJan. 25, 2022  Tuesday
January 2022Feb. 4, 2022  FridayMar. 8, 2022  TuesdayMar. 8, 2022  Tuesday
February 2022Mar. 4, 2022  FridayMar. 22, 2022  TuesdayMar. 29, 2022  Tuesday
March 2022Apr. 1, 2022  FridayApr. 13, 2022  WednesdayApr. 19, 2022  Tuesday
April 2022May 6, 2022  FridayMay 18, 2022  WednesdayMay 24, 2022  Tuesday
May 2022June 3, 2022  FridayJune 15, 2022  WednesdayJune 22, 2022  Wednesday
June 2022July 8, 2022  FridayJuly 20, 2022  WednesdayJuly 26, 2022  Tuesday
July 2022Aug. 5, 2022  FridayAug. 17, 2022  WednesdayAug. 23, 2022  Tuesday
August 2022Sept. 2, 2022  FridaySept. 14, 2022  WednesdaySept. 20, 2022  Tuesday
September 2022Oct. 7, 2022  FridayOct. 19, 2022  WednesdayOct. 25, 2022  Tuesday
October 2022Nov. 4, 2022  FridayNov. 16, 2022  WednesdayNov. 22, 2022  Tuesday
November 2022Dec. 2, 2022  FridayDec. 14, 2022  WednesdayDec. 20, 2022  Tuesday
December 2022Jan. 6, 2023  FridayJan. 19, 2023  ThursdayJan. 24, 2023  Tuesday

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