Eastern Oregon’s Personal Income Grew by $1.7 Billion from 2008 to 2017

by Tony Wendel

July 2, 2019

Eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties) had a total personal income of about $6.8 billion in 2017, up from $5.1 billion in 2008, a growth rate of 33 percent. Baker County had the highest rate of personal income growth in the area (41%), followed by Grant (39%), Harney (34%), Wallowa (34%), Umatilla (33%), Morrow (32%), Malheur (30%), and Union (29%). Eastern Oregon’s rate of growth was well below Oregon’s statewide growth of 43 percent.

Umatilla County had the highest nominal growth in personal income within Eastern Oregon (up $729 million) since 2008, followed by Union ($227 million), Malheur ($214 million), Baker ($82 million), Morrow ($110 million), Grant ($80 million), Wallowa ($76 million), and Harney ($70 million) counties.
Net earnings made up 53 percent of Eastern Oregon’s total personal income in 2017, while transfer receipts made up 28 percent and dividends, interest, and rent accounted for the remaining 19 percent. This is a significant change from 10 years ago, when net earnings made up 57 percent of the area’s personal income and transfer receipts made up only 24 percent. Dividends, interest, and rent was relatively close at 18 percent.

Morrow and Umatilla County residents had a higher percentage of their total personal income from net earnings, at 63 percent and 58 percent, respectively, while Union (52%), Harney (48%), Grant (46%), Malheur (45%), Baker (44%), and Wallowa (43%) all have much lower shares.
Income from transfer receipts has increased significantly statewide (59%) from about $23.7 billion in 2008 to about $37.7 billion in 2017. Within Eastern Oregon (55%) transfer receipts picked up from about $1.2 billion to about $1.9 billion over the same time period. This income includes but is not limited to government payments to individuals like Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance compensation, veterans’ benefits, and Federal grants and loans to students.

Income from dividends, interest, and rent within the area increased by 37 percent from 2008 to 2017 to $1.3 billion. This was below the growth rate statewide of 40 percent.

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