Business briefs

PORTLAND — New research shows Oregon's middle-class jobs are disappearing, while high-wage and low-wage jobs are growing.

The trend is known as job polarization. It has shaped the U.S. labor market for three decades, but the Great Recession exacerbated the process.

Polarization means work is gradually shifting away from the factory and office jobs that typically fall in the middle of the pay scale, with annual wages between $25,000 and $50,000.

A state study shows the vast majority of the jobs lost in Oregon during the recent recession were such middle class jobs.

Of the jobs recovered after the recession, more than half were occupations paying more than $50,000. And most of the other half were jobs that pay less than $25,000.

PORTLAND — The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that federal workers in Oregon who received unemployment benefits during this month's government shutdown must repay the money.

The state paid an average of $445 to the nearly 1,900 workers who filed for benefits during the 16-day shutdown. Oregon initially allowed them keep the money even after it was determined they would get back wages for the days they were furloughed.

Oregon Employment Department spokesman Tom Fuller says letters will be sent to workers next week outlining the repayment process.

Among the 1,886 workers who filed for benefits during the shutdown are some seasonal employees who were laid off.

They won't have to repay their unemployment benefits.

Not happy with your job? Just wait.

A study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 9 in 10 workers who are age 50 or older say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their job. Older workers reported satisfaction regardless of gender, race, educational level, political ideology and income level.

The AP-NORC survey found significant minorities of people reporting unwelcome comments at work about their age, being passed over for raises and promotions, and other negative incidents related to being older. But it was far more common to note the positive impact of their age.

Six in 10 said colleagues turned to them for advice more often, and more than 4 in 10 said they felt they were receiving more respect at work.

PENDLETON — A major shipping company's decision to withdraw from the Port of Portland by January 2014 means local exporters will face higher transportation costs to move their products overseas, including processed foods and timber.

South Korea-based Hanjin Shipping Co. announced Oct. 18 it will no longer carry containers out of Portland's Terminal 6 due to rising handling charges and sagging longshore labor productivity.

If Hanjin leaves, Eastern Oregon exporters would have to pay more to truck containers to Seattle or Tacoma, which cost between $500 and $1,000 per container the last time ships were diverted in summer 2012.

Value-added agricultural products like processed potatoes and onions are all shipped by container. Hanjin's departure is not expected to affect bulk grain cargo.

Compiled from wire reports

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