Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Health Care Employment in Jackson County
by Guy Tauer
Published Sep-21-2012

Health care is one the brighter spots in Jackson County's economy. Over the longer term and through the recent Great Recession, health care employment outpaced most other industries. From 2001 to 2011, total nonfarm employment was unchanged while health care employment rose by 28 percent, reaching 10,870 in 2011. In 2001, health care accounted for one out of nine jobs in Jackson County. By 2011, one out of seven payroll jobs were in health care: hospitals; ambulatory health care services; and nursing and residential care facilities.

Trends through the recession show the recession-resilience of this group of industries. From 2008 to 2011, Jackson County payroll employment fell by 8.6 percent. On the other hand, hospital employment only fell by 2.4 percent, or down by about 90 jobs. Ambulatory health care services employment was essentially unchanged over that time.

Compared with Oregon statewide, Jackson County has a higher concentration of employment in the broader category of health care and social assistance. As measured by the location quotient, Jackson County has 1.28 times the statewide average of health care and social assistance jobs, only trailing the Corvallis MSA (Benton County) in industry concentration compared with Oregon's other metropolitan areas. Jackson County has 1.38 times the Oregon average concentration of ambulatory health care services and 1.44 times the concentration of hospital jobs as Oregon overall. Why focus on those two segments? In a word, wages. Each of those industries had annual average wages per job that topped $54,000. Wages in hospitals rose faster than the average wage for all industries over the past decade, up by 56.4 percent compared with the all industry average wage gain of 29.1 percent. Ambulatory health care services wages rose at a slower rate, up by 27.5 percent over that time. Disparities between male and female earnings exist. According to the Census Bureau's Local Employment Dynamics data, average monthly earnings for females in hospitals ($4,442) trailed male earnings ($6,539). The same was true in ambulatory health care services, $3,188 for women and $9,634 for men. Both industries employ more female workers than males.

Graph 1
Jackson County average annual wage per job 2001-2011