Things are bright for manufacturing in Oregon. The sector is growing, increasing jobs and wages for Oregon workers. Manufacturers are still looking for well-trained workers. Those workers will become all the more valuable in the future as the industry continues to grow and current workers retire.
So, what does Oregon manufacturing look like today? Check out these statistics to get a clear picture as OBI marks Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4.
Manufacturing in Oregon has been on the rise since the depths of the Great Recession in 2010. This steady surge continues to make up a significant chunk of Oregon’s economy and provides a high number of jobs with good pay.
Manufacturing employment totaled 195,900 jobs in March. Though that is down slightly from a high of 198,000 jobs in 2018, it is still significant growth since 2010. Between 2010 and 2018, Oregon’s manufacturing sector grew by 23%. That outpaces the national growth, which was 12%.
Manufacturing makes up about 10.21% of Oregon’s overall employment. Those workers output $47 billion, or almost 20 percent of Oregon’s gross state product, according to the NAM.
In total, manufacturing workers’ wages amounted to $3.8 billion statewide as of the first quarter of 2019. The average annual wage is $68,200, according to an Oregon Employment Department report. That number is weighted by the high wages in tech industries. The average annual wage for semiconductor and electronic components is $143,215, while electronic instrument manufacturing is $93,231. Excluding that sector, the average wage in Oregon manufacturing is $53,000.
Oregon’s time-honored tradition in wood products still holds its own today. The employment department report put two of those products within the top-paying range of manufacturing jobs. Veneer and engineered hardwood products sector has an average wage of $51,572 a year and sawmills and wood preservation pays $56,116 per year. Millwork is not far behind, with an annual wage of $42,711.
Also among top paying annual wages in Oregon manufacturing: Aerospace parts and products ($84,901), ship and boat building ($70,356), and medical and equipment supply manufacturing ($53,628).
Even those not as high on the scale were still well-paying jobs ranging from $38,000 in frozen food manufacturing to $49,000 in plastic product manufacturing.
All these well-paying jobs need quality and skilled workers to fill them. That’s where Oregon, and much of the U.S., face a challenge.
One portion of that challenge is an aging workforce. The largest percentage of manufacturing workers (24%) are age 45 to 55, followed closely by ages 55 to 56 (20%), according to U.S. Census numbers. Manufacturing workers age 25 to 34 make up about 21%, and those younger make up about 6% (age 19 to 24).
With workers making their way toward retirement, positions will open up. That adds to industry growth to equal the need for more workers.
The Employment Department report estimates there will be 12,600 more manufacturing jobs by 2027. Though many of these jobs only require a high school diploma, another study examining workforce gaps found 16 percent of Oregon manufacturers wanted their applicants to have more work experience.
Manufacturing Day aims to inspire that next generation of workers by introducing students to the field and the many job opportunities. These numbers show the impact of manufacturing on Oregon’s economy and the opportunities for current and future jobs.