According to CareerBuilder's annual forecast, 44 percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2018

If you're looking for a job in construction or brewing, 2018 is the year for you.

Actually, you have a good chance of finding a new job in any industry — especially here in Portland.

According to CareerBuilder's annual forecast, 44 percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2018.

The forecast, released in early January, said another 51 percent plans to hire temporary employees, according to the forecast.

CareerBuilder is an online employment website founded in 1995 that offers career resources, advice and data.

The national study was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Nov. 28 to Dec. 20, 2017 and includes a representative sample of 888 hiring managers and human resource professionals along with 809 full-time workers across industries and companies of all sizes in the private sector

The Business Tribune checked in with local organizations to see what Portland's trends could be for the new year.

Forecast: low unemployment, growing skills gap

Even though people in general is likely to hire, questions remain about where to find qualified talent — particularly true in skilled labor and STEM jobs.

Forty-five percent of HR managers currently have job openings they cannot fill because they can't find qualified talent, and 58 percent report that they have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer.

There's also a retention issue, stemming from a generation clash: while Boomers found steadfastness in companies offering pensions, Millennials found an 8-10 percent pay increase from job hopping. According to Forbes, sticking with the same employer for more than two years these days can cost an employee 50 percent or higher in lifetime wages.

The forecast found 40 percent of workers plan to change jobs this year.

"More job creation, higher voluntary employee turnover and intensified competition for talent will be the main themes surrounding employment in 2018," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "There is a perfect storm happening in the U.S. labor market. Low unemployment paired with lagging labor force participation and a growing skills gap is making it very difficult for businesses to find qualified candidates — and this is for all types of roles. If employers want to remain competitive, they are going to have to look to new talent pools and significantly increase their investment in training workers to build up the skills they require."

Construction voices

Anirban Basu, chief economic with Associated Builders and Contractors and chairman and CEO with Sage Policy Group said over the past year, Oregon ranked ninth in percentage job growth.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: FILE PHOTO - Fortis Construction crews work on the new street-level entries for the old Oregonian press room in 2016.

"My expectation is that Oregon will continue to rank among the nation's strongest states in terms of job growth," Basu told the Tribune. "Millennials continue to pour into the Portland metropolitan area and employers know it. This is a quality of life story with legs."

With unemployment below 4 percent statewide and regionally, local employers continue to have difficulty recruiting and retaining talent.

"That's what makes Portland so appealing: Millennials have demonstrated a willingness to relocate to the Portland metropolitan area, which renders recruiting top talent easier," Basu said. "The enormous costs of housing in Northern California and congestion in Seattle render Portland that much more attractive to large numbers of young knowledge workers who would otherwise seek to relocate to those other markets."

But it's not just in construction: job seekers should look all over related industries, including real estate and skilled trades.

"Among the major beneficiaries are owners of commercial and residential real estate," Basu said. "They should enjoy 2018 along with many other economic stakeholders."

Small business voices

The Tax Cuts and Jobs act, signed into law by President Trump at the end of 2017, is expected to affect jobs, individuals and businesses across all sectors. In particular, small breweries — abundant in Oregon — are affected by the incorporation of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which lowers the corporate tax rate and adds a new deduction for pass-through entities, as well as the ability to expense equipment.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: FILE PHOTO - Commons Brewery owner Mike Wright checks on the next batch of beer at the brewery's Southeast Portland location.

Bart Watson, chief economist with the Brewers Association, said they don't have final 2017 numbers yet but do expect 2018 to be a year of strong growth for breweries.

"Craft brewing continues to be a center of job growth," Watson said. "For 2018, there are plenty of reasons to suggest another strong, if not stronger year."

The passage of the federal Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act provides additional resources for brewers looking to grow and lowers their federal excise tax, which Watson said drives expectations of a good coming year.

It's already driving growth in the comparable city of Denver, Col., where Eric Wallace of Left Hand decided to hire four more workers as a direct result.

"Looking at preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (from the Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages), the brewing industry added just a bit more than 10,000 jobs nationally from June 2016 to June 2017," Watson said. "I'd expect full year job growth in 2018 to be similar."

By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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