Worksystems, in partnership with Workforce Southwest Washington and Clackamas Workforce Partnership, has published and released a comprehensive State of the Workforce report covering the Greater Portland-Vancouver Area and key findings were presented to the Portland Metro Workforce Development Board earlier today.
This report provides critical information about the quality of the workforce, available and projected jobs, and describes some of the challenges and opportunities facing our region. The information will help us better understand the balance between workforce supply and industry demand to ensure that our workforce is aligned with the needs of the regional economy.
“Ideally, the workforce should be closely aligned with the economy, and the supply of workers and skill levels should approximate industry needs,” said Worksystems Executive Director Andrew McGough. “However, perfect alignment is not easy to achieve because it requires a dynamic balance between social, economic and demographic factors influenced by local, national and international trends.”
The region’s unemployment rate is at historic lows and the strong economy is encouraging more people to (re) enter the labor market. We need to ensure that everyone is fully benefitting from the surging economy. Helping local workers prepare for the region’s growing economy and helping businesses find qualified workers is essential to the health of our regional economy. Understanding where mis-alignments exist is critically important as we shape policy, consider investments, and implement strategies to improve the quality of the regional workforce. We are dedicated to ensuring that the information is this report is updated regularly and presented in a way that advances the region’s capacity to align regional workforce supply with business demand.
A few findings from the report:
- The regional labor force has increased 23 percent since 2000 and has the sixth fastest growing labor force between 2015 and 2017.
- The population of people of color grew twice as fast as the overall population in recent years from 12.3 percent nonwhite in 2000 to 15.7 percent nonwhite in 2016.
- The percent of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher has climbed to 40 percent, up 12 percentage points since 2000.
- Over one-fifth of the workforce is over the age of 55 and will retire within the next decade.
- With a strong economy and tremendous growth since the end of the Great Recession, youth unemployment has decreased to below 2000 levels – sitting at 10.5 percent in 2016.