Columbia County’s High-Wage Private Industries

by Shawna Sykes

October 5, 2020

With an average annual wage of $40,729 in 2019, Columbia County’s average wage is only 74 percent of the average statewide ($55,019) and only 64 percent of the neighboring Portland Metro area’s average ($63,227). This helps to explain the large share of the population that commutes outside the county for work. However, Columbia County does have some private industries with high average wages.
At the top of the county’s high-wage list is the utilities sector with 121 jobs and average annual wages of $126,844. That’s more than three times the county’s average wage. Utilities provide electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply, and sewage removal services. Local government also provides utility services but only private-sector data is included in this analysis.

The sector with the second highest average wage was financial investment and related activity with 18 jobs and an average wage of $114,081. Companies in this sector provide services such as underwriting securities, acting as brokers between buyers and sellers of securities and commodities, managing portfolios of assets, providing investment advice, and other fiduciary services. Electronic markets and agents/brokers ($90,894), chemical manufacturing ($82,414), and telecommunications ($80,417) round out the county’s top five high-wage industries.

Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing has the largest employment of the high-wage sectors shown with 164 jobs. Mining, heavy and civil engineering construction, and waste management and remediation services make up the last three high-wage sectors. With only about 6 percent of the county’s employment, the top nine high-wage sectors account for about 13 percent of the total payroll in the county.

For a more detailed look, go to our web site to see the full 2019 employment and wages by industry for Columbia County.

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