Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon with an independent population of 156,185 and a combined population (including the Eugene-Springfield metro area) of 351,715. This treasured gem is nestled in the Willamette Valley and is home to the University of Oregon. While it doesn't claim to be "weird" like its neighbor to the north – Portland – it was named the #1 City for Hippies by Estately in 2013.
Its slogan is, "A great city for the arts and the outdoors," and Eugene lives up to it with plenty of outdoor activities and cultural opportunities from the university. Nike also had its beginnings in Eugene.
Transplants seeking Eugene jobs should be aware that, overall, the city's cost of living is slightly higher than the national average by 10 percent. This is due to an expensive housing market, transportation costs, and healthcare. Groceries, on the other hand, are less expensive than the national average. The median home cost is $214,440, compared to the national average of $170,100. While housing is more expensive than the national average, rental properties are cheaper. A one-bedroom apartment rents for $627 a month compared to the U.S. average of $765.
Eugene Job Opportunities
Eugene, OR jobs span several industries, with its top employers being in healthcare, education and government. There are also a number of Oregon's top privately held companies, across a variety of industries, operating out of Eugene, including Bi-Mart Corporation (membership retailer), Farwest Steel Corporation (steel production), Tyree Oil (petroleum), Willamette Valley Company (manufacturing), States Industries Inc. (manufacturing), McDonald Wholesale Co. (institutional food wholesaler) and Chambers Construction Co.
About 45 minutes away is Corvallis, Oregon, home to rival Oregon State University. The town is a lot smaller than Eugene, but has some of the same college-based presence minus the strong hippie culture. Jobs in Corvallis offer similar pay to Eugene jobs.
Eugene Employment Trends
The unemployment rate in Eugene (5.6 percent) is lower than the national average (6.3 percent). While jobs in Eugene are not hard to find, as in most college towns there is an overabundance of cheap help, which means a lot of competition for student jobs. However, upon graduation, many students leave Eugene and head to Portland or Seattle, making large companies reticent to settle here because of the concern over a skilled workforce.
Job growth has resumed after an extended weak period during 2007-2009, where unemployment was around 12 percent. Eugene fails to attract big business partly because of the concerns over skilled labor and partly because the city council imposes stringent guidelines on businesses. Still, its basis in healthcare, education, and government work mean jobs in Eugene, OR, and its economy, are stable.