Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Employees -- Training of -- Oregon -- Portland, Skilled labor, Vocational education, Labor market -- Oregon -- Portland -- Forecasting


The skills gap has garnered significant attention in popular discourse, research initiatives and public policy, both in the Portland region and across the country. Simultaneously, fewer and fewer people in the Portland region are earning self-sufficient incomes. The manufacturing and healthcare industries are often cited as promising pathways to self-sufficiency due to shortages of workers in middle-skill, middle-wage occupations. But the magnitude and distribution of worker shortages in these industries is far from certain, and alternative factors to explain hiring challenges—such as employer practices—are supported by some of the evidence. Existing skills gap research typically uses a single indicator of skill shortages, such as employer surveys, wages, vacancy durations, or training capacity. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each of these measures, synthesize a set of findings from the available evidence, and point to future research directions


Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, School of Urban Studies and Planning, College of Urban and Public Affairs (

Persistent Identifier