A Snapshot of Oregon Firms by Size Class, 2021

by Sarah Cunningham

August 25, 2021

Nine out of 10 private-sector firms in Oregon had fewer than 20 employees in March 2021. Six out of 10 employed fewer than five.

Despite their quantity, smaller firms collectively account for a much smaller share of overall employment than their larger counterparts. For example, the 61.7% of firms with one to four employees represented 8.1% of covered employment in March 2021 and 6.9% of wages in the first quarter of 2021. On the other hand, the 0.3% of firms with at least 500 employees accounted for 27.9% of private-sector jobs and 34.1% of wages.
Firms with Fewer than 50 Employees

There were 106,810 firms with fewer than 50 employees in Oregon in March 2021. These firms accounted for 96.0% of all firms statewide. Despite their large share, firms with fewer than 50 employees accounted for just 39.8% of employment in March 2021 and 32.7% of wages.

These distributions tend to remain stable from one year to the next, even as the overall number of firms, employees, and wages expands or contracts. This doesn’t mean that smaller firms are underperforming when it comes to job creation, or that larger firms are experiencing a bonanza. Size of firm data does not provide us with information about the dynamics of job growth. Instead, it offers a snapshot that can help us understand the roles of small and large firms in Oregon’s economy at a specific point in time.


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