Analysis: Oregon software jobs are growing quickly

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) A new analysis by the Oregon Employment Department has found software jobs are growing quickly, even though the state's economy is still sluggish.

Software jobs make up a small fraction of Oregon's workforce just 0.8 percent, but the employment department says the state has the third-highest concentration of software developers of any state, following Washington and Massachusetts.

And those jobs are growing at a double-digit percentage rate, The Oregonian reported in Sunday's newspaper. Software jobs in Oregon currently include 12,637 in software publishing and 3,292 in "custom software," which is a category often associated with startups.

Several Bay Area companies, including eBay and are opening offices in Oregon and hiring local people. Portland startups, such as Puppet Labs and Urban Airship are adding to those numbers.

Two-thirds of Oregon's software jobs are in the Portland area, followed by the Eugene-Springfield area.

Most software employers have fewer than 10 jobs in Oregon, state statistics show.

More than half of Oregon software workers have a college degree, compared with 19 percent of all Oregon jobs. More than 70 percent of the employees are men and two-thirds are younger than 45.

"It just seems like there's a lot of energy surrounding that tiny little sector," said Amy Vander Vliet, the state economist who performed the new analysis.

The jobs for startup companies are growing fastest.

Custom software jobs have grown by 74 percent since the start of 2007, according to Vander Vliet's findings, and numbered about 3,300 statewide by the end of last year.

So far, the software part of the economy is so small that it's not having a major impact on Oregon's whole economy.

"It would take a lot more than an industry that's eight-tenths of a percent with high wages," Vander Vliet said.

If Oregon follows the lead of Washington and California, however, this small industry could fuel further business success, Vander Vliet said.

"The more powerful impact might be the reputation we might get," she said, "if two or three of these companies are successful."


Information from: The Oregonian,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.