Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Oregon Jobs in 2012: A Wage Data Perspective
by Barbara E Peniston
Published Aug-16-2013

In 2012, workers held 2,556,540 jobs in Oregon, a gain of 69,881 (2.8%) over the prior year. Between 2011 and 2012, all but one broad industry experienced growth in number of jobs. The outlier - state and local government - lost 8,424 jobs. Natural resources and mining posted the largest year-over-year percent increase, at 9.1 percent. Professional and business services (which includes temporary help businesses) and leisure and hospitality enjoyed the largest absolute gains of 18,315 (+5.6%) and 14,537 (+4.8%) jobs, respectively. At least part of the job growth in these two industries, both of which have a strong seasonal component, may have resulted from an increase in turnover - that is, workers changing jobs more frequently.

The largest number of jobs (346,869) was held by professional and business services in 2012. Their share of the jobs pie rose modestly, from 13.2 percent in 2011 to 13.6 percent in 2012 (Graph 1). Education and health services was a very close second, capturing 336,882 (13.2% of all) jobs that year. Year-over-year, professional and business services gained 18,315 jobs and education and health services added 4,806. During 2011, manufacturing and financial services shed 7.2 percent and 6.8 percent of their jobs, respectively, for a total loss of more than 25,000 jobs. In 2012, they added back just under 10,000, or 40 percent, of those jobs.

The median hourly wage of jobs in all broad industries rose from $15.05 to $15.09 per hour in 2012 - a year-over-year increase of less than 1 percent. Information continued to have the highest median hourly wage at $24.90. State and local government workers ($22.20) and construction ($22.00) also had relatively high median hourly wages. The leisure and hospitality industry remained at the bottom of the stack in 2012, with a median hourly wage of $9.89. Construction is the only broad industry that saw a decrease in its median hourly wage in 2012.

Roughly 20 percent of all jobs in 2012 paid at least $30.00 per hour and more than a third paid at least $20.00 per hour. About half of all jobs paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the smallest hourly wage class posted job gains (Table 1); the largest number of those were added to the $10.00-$14.99 hourly wage class. This is not surprising, given the concentration of job gains in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. The three highest wage classes saw the highest percent job gains, for a combined increase of nearly 20,000 jobs. Sitting at the figurative top of the array, the $60 or more class captured about half of these new high-wage jobs.

To see detailed annual tables, visit www.QualityInfo.org and go to the Wages and Income link to find Quarterly Wage Tables.

Table 1
Oregon: Year-Over-Year Job Losses/Gains
by Hourly Wage Class, 2012
  Percent Jobs
Under $10.00 -0.9% -5,437
$10.00 - $14.99 5.6% 36,487
$15.00 - $19.99 0.8% 3,034
$20.00 - $29.99 3.4% 13,457
$30.00 - $39.99 1.3% 2,561
$40.00 - $49.99 5.9% 6,749
$50.00 - $59.99 5.9% 3,644
$60.00 or more 9.3% 9,386
All Wage Classes 2.81% 69,881
Source: Unemployment Insurance Wage Records
Graph 1
Oregon percent of all jobs by broad industry 2012