The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative (CWWC) — comprising Worksystems and our sister workforce development boards, Clackamas Workforce Partnership and Workforce Southwest Washington — has released the 2022-23 State of the Workforce report, a comprehensive, data-driven examination of the challenges and opportunities facing the labor market in the Portland metro area. This iteration of the report, authored by labor market economist Dr. Liza Morehead, is the first to be released by the CWWC since before the coronavirus pandemic.

And indeed, the ongoing impact of the pandemic is front and center in the report, even as the metro area transitions into a post-COVID economy. Patterns of everyday life and work — including the setting in which many people do their jobs — were profoundly disrupted by the public-health measures taken in response to the pandemic, to a degree not experienced since the Great Depression. It is difficult to overstate the scope of COVID-19’s impact on the regional economy and on the lives of metro-area residents — particularly for members of historically underserved populations.

“The challenges of the past three years have not been felt evenly across the economy,” the report states. “The loss of low-wage jobs disproportionately impacted communities of color and younger workers. During the pandemic we saw many women overly burdened with caregiving responsibilities leave the labor force. Today many of them have returned but we have yet to see the full impact of the gap in employment.”

The loss of low-wage jobs disproportionately impacted communities of color and younger workers

For workers and employers alike, the State of the Workforce report is an essential resource for understanding the impact of the pandemic on the metro area, the transition to a post-COVID world, and — perhaps most importantly — the steps our region needs to take to ensure a just, equitable, and prosperous future for our region. 

Read the State of the Workforce 22-2023

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