Green Jobs: A Survey of Oregon's Natural Resources Industries Employers

Posted by Charles Cox - On July 25, 2011 (EST)

As a part of the state’s Labor Market Information Improvement Green Jobs Grant, the Oregon Employment Department partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oregon Field Office to complete a survey of the state's natural resources industries employers. The natural resources industries include crop production; animal production; forestry and logging; fishing, hunting, and trapping; and agriculture and forestry support activities.

This survey represents the first time the Oregon Employment Department has collected employment data about “covered” and “non-covered” agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting employers in nearly 10 years. Non-covered employers are those that are not subject to Oregon’s unemployment insurance laws, and tend to be concentrated in the state’s natural resources industries. Survey results include information about the total workforce, seasonal and year-round employment, and green jobs in Oregon’s natural resources industries.

A Large and Seasonal Workforce
Based on the survey results, we estimate that in 2009 there were 122,730 jobs throughout the state's natural resources industries. Nearly two-thirds of the jobs were in the crop production sector, which dominates both year-round and seasonal employment trends. Seasonal jobs are employed for less than nine months in a year, while year-round jobs are employed for nine months or longer. We estimate that in 2009 there were 37,167 year-round jobs and 85,563 seasonal jobs employed throughout the state's natural resources industries.

Employers reported that roughly three out of every five jobs is classified in the farmworker occupation. There were 60,681 farmworkers working with crops, or nursery and greenhouse plants, and another 14,661 farmworkers working with farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals; 75,342 farmworkers in all.

Three Out of 20 Jobs Reported as a Green Job
For this survey, employers were asked to identify "green jobs" as those workers whose essential job duties are directly related to one of the components of Oregon's official definition of a green job.  Oregon’s definition of a green job requires that it do at least one of the following:

  • Increase energy efficiency;
  • Produce renewable energy;
  • Prevent, reduce or mitigate environmental degradation;
  • Clean up and restore the natural environment; and/or,
  • Educate, consult, and provide other services that support the above.

We estimate that in 2009 there were 6,978 green year-round and 11,581 green seasonal jobs employed throughout Oregon's agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sectors. According to employers, 19 percent of all year-round jobs and 14 percent of all seasonal jobs were green jobs - jobs with essential duties related to Oregon's definition of a green job. The crop production sector had 12,748 green jobs in 2009, more than two-thirds of all the green jobs reported.

No Significant Difference between Green Jobs and Other Jobs
In an attempt to learn more about the differences between green jobs and other jobs, employers were asked to identify the three key differences that set their workers with green jobs apart from the rest of their employees. Nearly 1,500 employers reported at least one green job, but only 14 percent of those employers acknowledged that green workers at their establishment had knowledge or skills that differed significantly from their co-workers.

Disconnect Between "Green Jobs" and "Green-Related Job Activities"
Employers were asked if any green-related job activities were performed by workers at their establishment, and roughly 68 percent responded "no." Employers in the crop production and forestry and logging sectors were slightly more likely to have some green-related job activities at their establishment.

While only 13 percent of natural resource employers reported having at least one green job in 2009, 32 percent reported having workers that performed green-related job activities during the period. The likely reason for the difference between these two estimates is a small but important difference in how the two questions were asked. On the first question, employers identified "green jobs" as those with essential job duties related to the definition of a green job, while the second question asked employers to identify any green-related job activities that were performed by their workers. So, while more than 18,500 jobs in Oregon's natural resources industries has essential duties related to the state's definition of a green job, it is likely that many more jobs have at least some green-related job activities.

More Data Available Online
A full survey report, which includes more detailed data analysis, is available online at

-- Gail Krumenauer, Oregon Employment Department

"This article has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, under grant #GJ-19828. The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government."

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Modified On : July 25, 2011
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