Oregon Lags in Full-Time Job Growth

Oregon is still not an easy place to find full time employment.

Oregon is still not an easy place to find full time employment.

Oregon finds itself in uncomfortable company as one of the hardest states in the nation to find a full-time job, according to an analysis by a group called 24/7 Wall Street.

While Oregon's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5 percent, its underemployment rate stands at 12.8 percent, largely because of a high number of people who are involuntarily part-time workers.

"Individuals employed part-time for economic reasons accounted for 5.4 percentage points of Oregon’s underemployment rate of 12.8 percent, the fourth highest incidence of involuntary part-time employment nationwide," writes Thomas Frohlich on the 24/7 Wall Street website.

"These workers cited seasonal declines in demand, inability to find full-time work or unfavorable business conditions as reasons for seeking part-time employment," Frohich says. "Such high levels of financial stress, even among the state’s employed population, likely led to greater reliance on government subsidies. Nearly one in five Oregon residents relied on food stamps, the highest proportion nationwide. Many SNAP recipients were likely also part of the underemployed population."

If any consolation, Oregon wasn't the hardest state in which to find a full-time job. That honor fell to Nevada, with an underemployment rate of 15.2 percent. Involuntary part-time workers made up 6.4 percent of the underemployment percentage. Other states with worse underemployment percentages than Oregon were California (14 percent), Arizona (13.8 percent) and West Virginia (13 percent).

Rounding out the bottom 10 were Mississippi (12.8 percent), South Carolina (12.8 percent), Michigan (12.6 percent), Georgia (12.5 percent) and Rhode Island (12.4 percent). South Carolina and Mississippi ranked slightly better than Oregon because their unemployment rates were higher at 6.6 percent and their involuntary part-time worker percentages were lower. South Carolina also experienced a 3.4 percent labor force growth rate from 2007-2014, compared to only a 1.1 percent growth rate in Oregon.

California and Nevada ranked worse than Oregon even though both states have more robust labor force growth at  5.1 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. Arizona's labor force growth rate only totaled 1.9 percent, while West Virginia's labor force actually declined by 2.6 percent.

24/7 Wall Street calculated the underemployment rate in individual states by adding together those who are unemployed, marginally attached workers, discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers.

Oregon Senate Republicans tweeted about the report, noting "It's time to put family-wage job creation 1st in the #orleg."

24/7 Wall Street is based in New York and publishes online financial news and opinion. The article was based on statistics generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards.