Oregon Labor Market Information System
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Hourly Earnings Are Growing Slower in Oregon
by David Cooke
Published May-19-2014

Average hourly earnings of Oregon's private-sector payroll employees spiked above $23.00 earlier this year, but were still well below comparable national figures. The latest available reading was for March, when Oregon workers averaged $22.84. Nationally, the average was $24.47.

Average hourly earnings for both Oregon and the U.S. have been on a general uptrend since 2008. One common measure of inflation, the U.S. Consumer Price Index, shows average inflation of 2.0 percent per year between 2007 and 2013. Average hourly earnings in the U.S. have grown slightly faster than consumer inflation in recent years, at a rate of 2.3 percent per year, while comparable earnings in Oregon have grown slightly slower than consumer inflation, at 1.5 percent per year.

What's not readily apparent is whether Oregon is gaining or losing ground relative to the U.S. in recent years. The hourly earnings gap shows that Oregon was within a dollar per hour of the U.S. average through mid-2009. But since then the gap has tended to widen, so that by March 2014 the U.S. average was $1.63 per hour higher than the Oregon average.

Graph 1
Oregon's hourly earnings growing slower than the nation's