Douglas County 2021 Occupational Wages

by Brian Rooney

July 14, 2021

Thanks to survey responses from local employers, the Oregon Employment Department produces annual estimates of occupational wages for the state and its workforce regions. Roughly 230 occupations had published wages in Douglas County for 2021.

The average wage for all occupations is lower in Douglas County than the statewide average. Douglas County’s annual average for all occupations was $48,035 compared with the statewide annual average of $58,443. Much of the difference is due to the prevalence of lower- and middle-wage occupations in food service, retail trade, manufacturing, and trucking. Not all occupations in Douglas County pay lower wages than the statewide figure. Some, especially in wood products, pay higher wages.

Occupational wages in Douglas County are estimated from a survey of local employers. Wages for many different occupations in the region are available – the exact number differs each year. This article presents the 2021 wages for selected occupations in the County.

Not all occupations in the region have published wages. This may be due to confidentiality reasons (only one or two firms employ an occupation) or if only a few employees work in the occupation (too few in the sample). Other reasons to exclude an occupation are if it is primarily self-employed (such as farmers) or if the wages reported in the sample for Douglas County are substantially different from those for other regions (an indication of poor data quality). Some occupations are excluded if the wage is more than $208,000 per year

Wages for Selected Occupations

In Douglas County, as in most labor markets, many of the largest occupations are relatively low paying jobs in the services and retail sectors that require little in the way of skills and training. For Douglas County, the most common occupations are fast food and counter workers followed by cashiers and home health and personal care aides. There are, however, some large and relatively high-paying occupations in management and truck driving. These are skilled occupations that require higher levels of education and training.
Wage Data by Broad Occupational Group

Reviewing occupational wages can be a useful step when planning a career. The table below presents employment and average wages for broad occupational groups instead of specific occupations. There are usually opportunities for advancement within a broad occupational group through experience, education, and training.

In Douglas County, occupations in health care, management, computer and mathematical, legal, and architectural and engineering occupations lead the way as the highest paying. The specific occupations in the higher-paying groups usually require higher levels of education and training.
Like the detailed occupations, the largest occupational groups are lower paying. These occupational groups are filled with occupations that require less education and training. However, within each group there can be high-paying occupations. For instance, some people in sales are very highly paid. Even in food preparation, chefs and head cooks averaged $51,873 in 2021, showing that skill level and experience can translate to higher earnings in any occupational group.

Many occupations in the occupational groups that pay near the average such as protective services, construction and production occupations pay well depending on experience and skill level but do not require a college education.

Occupational Employment and Wage Survey

Wage data presented here are collected through the Occupational Employment and Wage Survey (OEWS), a semiannual survey that measures occupational employment and wage rates for payroll workers. In Oregon, the survey samples more than 6,000 establishments each year, taking three years to fully collect the sample of more than 18,000 establishments.

The OEWS survey defines employment as workers covered by unemployment insurance. This may exclude the self-employed, owners or partners of unincorporated firms, unpaid family workers, and some commission-based sales agents. Wages paid to these excluded groups are not reflected in the data.

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