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Jobs Issue 2022: A Historic Labor Shortage Is Making Oregon Employers Downright Desperate

“For every seven unemployed people, there are 10 jobs available.”

Right now, there are a record number of job openings in Oregon. “In the summer, we hit 107,000 and that’s just private sector,” says Gail Krumenauer, an employment economist for the state of Oregon. “For every seven unemployed people, there are 10 jobs available.”

It’s a national trend, according to Krumenauer. The nation’s unemployment rate hovers at 3.9% and Oregon’s is just a little over that, at 4.2%. “That’s within striking distance of a record low,” Krumenauer tells WW. “It’s highly unlikely that there was ever a more advantageous time to find a job in the state of Oregon.”

With that advantage in mind, this year’s Jobs Issue hopes to guide job seekers, job switchers or the just plain job-curious through this momentous period of possibility.

In this issue, you’ll find stories about professions that are so hard up for workers they’re paying hiring bonuses ranging from $500 to upwards of $30,000 just to start. And arguments by labor reporter and author Sarah Jaffe about looking beyond purely material satisfaction in the workplace.

You’ll find medical staff describing the ways telehealth changed their workspaces for the better—both for workers and patients—and how that might never have happened without the pandemic.

We spoke with Portland’s professional cuddlers about the contradictory supply and demand issues they’ve faced: booming lists of clients created by pandemic isolation and satisfied by remote intimacy.

We also have an introduction for you: a local startup changing the way we work from home—by renting out someone else’s home.

It’s a fascinating time to look at the workplace, where it can go and what it can give. To start out, read up on why this is all happening, in the first place. Shocking twist: It’s not just the pandemic.

Jobs Issue 2022: A Historic Labor Shortage Is Making Oregon Employers Downright Desperate

We Didn’t Start the Labor Shortage

Oregon Employers Will Put Thousands of Dollars in Your Pocket if You Get Hired

Telehealth Changed Doctor Appointments and We Have the Pandemic To Thank for That

The Cuddling Industry: Supply, Demand and a Statewide Rebound of the Self-employed

Portland-area Startup Radious Found a Better Place to Work From Home: Someone Else’s Home

“Work Won’t Love You Back” Is a Harrowing Read With Hope for the Future