Employers report more hiring and job openings

OLYMPIA — A state-sponsored survey of state employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall 2012 and fall 2013 — and employers say it’s taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s “2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report” estimated job vacancies in Washington increased by 23 percent, from about 70,400 in fall 2012 to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent from nearly 190,200 in 2012 to nearly 209,100 in 2013.

In a striking contrast to 2012, employers last fall reported vacant positions remained open for more than two months – an average of nearly 66 days – before being filled. The average was 19 days in fall 2012.

Employment Security surveys employers twice a year about their job vacancies and new hiring. The department sent surveys to about 12,000 Washington employers last fall.

The fall 2013 report showed more than half of the state’s job vacancies were in urban areas of Western Washington. Urban areas throughout the state accounted for nearly 82 percent of all new hires from July through September 2013.

The occupational group with the most vacancies was farmworkers and laborers, with 13,037 job vacancies, or 15 percent of the total. The farmworker group also comprised almost 13 percent of total hires, nearly 26,700, which was more than any other occupation cited in the survey.

The industry sector with the most job openings was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, with about 13,400 or an estimated 14.5 percent of vacancies.

In fall 2013, the average estimated hourly wage for new hires was $13.69 statewide, up slightly from the $13.48 average wage reported a year earlier.

More than half of job openings required applicants with experience and nearly one-third required a special license or certification. At the same time, more than two-thirds of vacancies did not specify any educational requirements or only a high-school education.

In a pattern comparable to results of the spring 2013 survey, employers said they expect to almost double the number of vacancies in fall 2014 (154,547) as they reported in fall 2013 (86,636). More than half of the future openings were predicted to occur in Western Washington’s urban counties. At the same time, the farmworker occupational group is likely to comprise almost 25 percent of future vacancies.

The report ranked occupations by percent of total hires and also by average wage offered. Of the 25 occupations that account for most hiring, the highest offers went to secondary school teachers (except for those in special education or career/technical education) at $29.66 per hour; registered nurses at $25.62 per hour; and business operations specialists at $21.58 per hour.


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