Covered Employment and Wages in Linn County: 2016

by Pat O'Connor

July 18, 2017

Covered employment or quarterly census of employment and wages (QCEW) data is obtained through employers’ payroll tax records. The universe for QCEW includes businesses whose employees are covered by unemployment insurance. QCEW provides more detailed industry employment and payroll data than the current employment statistics (CES) estimates.

In 2016, total covered employment for Linn County was 45,002; up nearly 1,500 jobs from 43,518 in 2015. The annual average wage in Linn County was $40,942 in 2016, less than the statewide average of $49,453.
Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Linn County’s average wage ranked 11th highest. Linn County’s average annual wage has struggled to keep up with the statewide average over the past 35 years. In the 1970s and into the 1980s, Linn County’s average wage was higher than the state’s average. The biggest reason Linn County’s average wage has not been keeping up with the statewide average has been due to the loss of high paying jobs within the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing comprises a smaller share of Linn County’s economy today than it did in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, Linn County’s average wage was about 5.5 percent higher than the statewide average. By 2000, the statewide average wage was 15 percent higher than Linn County’s. The wage gap between Linn County and the state has continued to grow, in particular since the recession that began in 2008. In 2016, the statewide average wage was nearly 21 percent higher than Linn County’s average.

Employment Gains and Losses in 2016

The QCEW series provides us with the changes in employment and also allows us to see if those employment gains and losses are occurring in industries with high or low average wages. 

Linn County gained nearly 1,500 jobs from 2015 to 2016; gains of more than 1,300 in the private sector accounted for the majority of the growth, while the public sector grew slower, adding 179 jobs. Employment gains and losses varied significantly by industry.

Trade, transportation, and utilities (+485 jobs) added the most jobs during 2016 and it was the third fastest-growing industry, growing 5.5 percent. Leisure and hospitality showed the most rapid growth in the county, growing 9 percent in 2016 and adding nearly 300 jobs in Linn County. Other services also showed rapid growth in 2016, growing nearly 6 percent and adding just over 100 jobs. Manufacturing added more than 300 jobs in 2016, growing 4.5 percent. Manufacturing is Linn County’s sector with the highest average wages; the annual average wage was more than $61,000 in 2016. 
Professional and business services; natural resources and mining; and information were the three major sectors in Linn County that showed employment losses in 2016, but they were fairly minor. Combined, the three sectors they shed less than 200 jobs in 2016.

The public sector as a whole showed a little more than 2 percent employment growth from 2015 to 2016, adding 179 jobs. However, employment varied when looking at a finer level of detail. Federal government employment and local government employment both grew 2.3 percent in 2016. State government in Linn County added 46 jobs in 2016 to grow 3.4 percent. The average wage in Linn County’s public sector is slightly lower than the private sector average wage in the region.

For more detailed industry employment and payroll data go to , under “Economic Data” select “Employment and Wages by Industry”. Covered employment and payroll data is available for Oregon’s counties from 2001 to the present.

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