The COVID-19 related economic shutdown has brought an unprecedented number of unemployment claims from workers across the economy. The temporary closure of offices and other workplaces is impacting employment in support services. The Administrative and Waste Services sector saw initial unemployment claims peak just three weeks into the crisis. The past few weeks have seen a steady decline in new claims filed by workers in this sector.
The Administrative and Waste Services sector includes businesses performing routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other organizations. The establishments in this sector specialize in one or more of these support activities, providing services to clients in a variety of industries and, in some cases, to households. Activities include office administration, hiring and placing of personnel, document preparation and similar clerical services, solicitation, collection, security and surveillance services, cleaning, and waste disposal.
With 47,400 jobs and a payroll of just under $2.5 billion (2019), Administrative and Waste Services accounts for 6 percent of Portland Metro’s private-sector employment and 4 percent of payroll. Annual wages averaged $52,100, thirty percent less than the average across all industries.
Since the economic impact of COVID-19 began, initial claims were processed for more than 17,260 Administrative and Waste Services workers in Oregon including 6,613 workers in Portland Metro. They represented 6 percent of all claims filed and 14 percent of the 2019 Administrative and Waste Services workforce in Portland Metro.
The sector includes more than 500 occupations. The five largest occupation, janitors and cleaners, security guards, laborers, landscaping and groundskeeping, and customer service representatives, account for more than one third of the industry’s total workforce.
Nearly 80 percent of jobs in Administrative and Waste Services do not require formal education beyond a high school diploma. A handful of occupations (7%) require a post-secondary credential or an Associate’s degree. Fifteen percent of Administrative and Waste Services jobs require a bachelor’s degree or more.
Most Administrative and Waste Services jobs are low wage. Slightly more than seventy percent of the industry’s jobs have median wages at or below the area’s median wage ($15.08/hr.). Just 11 percent of the industry’s jobs in Portland Metro have a median wage above the 75th percentile of the region’s median wage ($34.67/hr.).
Black and African American and Hispanic or Latino workers are overrepresented in Administrative and Waste Services. While and Asian workers are unrepresented. Fifty-eight percent of workers in this industry are male.