New data from the Oregon Employment Department show the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the labor market. Since the beginning of the economic shutdown, workers in Portland Metro have filed more than 154,103 initial unemployment claims. This includes 2,763 real estate, rental, and leasing, workers, representing 19 percent of the industry’s total workforce. The sector employs two percent of all workers in Portland Metro and represents two percent of all initial unemployment claims filed since March 15, 2020.
These numbers do not represent all real estate, rental, and leasing workers who have lost their jobs. Faced with unprecedented demand, the unemployment insurance system currently has a backlog of claims. Not all workers are eligible for unemployment, including workers who did meet the threshold for hours worked during the past five quarters and undocumented immigrants.
The real estate and rental and leasing sector includes businesses primarily engages in renting, leasing, or otherwise allowing the use of tangible (real estate or equipment) or intangible assets (patents and trademarks). The sector also includes businesses primarily engages in managing, selling, renting, and buying, and appraising real estate.
Roughly 275 occupations are found within real estate, rental, and leasing. Many of the largest occupations are relatively unique to the sector and not often found elsewhere in the economy (e.g. property, real estate, and community association managers, real estate sales agents, and real estate brokers). Educational requirements range from less than a high school diploma to a Bachelor’s degree, although the need for a college education is the exception rather than the rule: Sixty-three percent of the sector’s occupations, which account for over 80 percent of its current workforce, require no more than a high school diploma. On the other end of the spectrum, 28 percent required a Bachelor’s degree.
Occupations in this sector tend to be middle-wage. Seventy-seven percent of jobs in the industry pay a median wage between the 25th and 75th percentile of the regional median wage. Although the distribution is heavily weighted to jobs that pay below the median wage.
Prior to the pandemic, Portland Metro’s real estate, rental, and leasing sector was expected to expand by 1,500 jobs between 2017 and 2027 for a growth rate of 6 percent; less than half the rate of the overall economy.