Employment and Pay by Class of Worker, Occupation and Median Earnings in the Rogue Valley

Employment and Pay by Class of Worker, Occupation and Median Earnings in the Rogue Valley

by Guy Tauer

September 29, 2016

The Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) contains so many topics regarding housing, transportation, health care coverage, income, poverty, populations and demographics that it really is a fantastic lens into life in the United States and local areas. Even within the topic of employment, there are a plethora of data sets to review and analyze. New data for 2015 was recently released. While these new data represent the most current figures, caution with any particular statistic is advisable, due to the sample-based nature of these estimates.

You might have noticed that the Oregon Employment Department most often publishes "non-farm payroll employment", or "covered" employment by industry. These data are mostly obtained through employer's payroll tax records, or survey estimates from businesses with paid employees. We also publish some occupational statistics such as estimates of employment and wages by occupation. The ACS data result from a survey of individuals and can help fill in the blanks for some of the details that we don't typically have data about, such as how many people work for non-profit versus for profit firms, or data by gender.

Class of Worker

In Jackson County there were nearly 58,000 full-time, year-round workers in the civilian workforce and in Josephine County these workers numbered about 21,000 in 2015. Males slightly outnumbered females in both counties. In Oregon, about two-thirds work for private, for-profit firms while in the Rogue Valley a slightly lower percentage did. About 9 percent of Oregon and Jackson County workers were employed by private, not-for-profit firms. In Josephine County, 11.5 percent worked for non-profits. Both Rogue Valley counties had a slightly higher percent of workers who were self-employed in either their own incorporated or not incorporated businesses than Oregon statewide.

Occupational Employment by Sex

Are there still traditionally male- or female-dominated occupations in 2015? According to the latest ACS data, yes there are. There has been one exclusively male-dominated occupation in the United States for the past 240 years, the occupation of U.S. president. Will that change as of January 2017? Too close to call right now.

Closer to home in Jackson County, installation, repair and maintenance occupations were entirely male in 2015. But again, these are estimates with "sample and non-sample error" that can mask exact figures. So rather than focusing on exact percentages published, we can look at some general trends. Males had significantly higher percent of total employment in firefighting and other protective services; and construction and extraction occupations. Males were significantly more prevalent in computer and mathematical; life, physical and social science; farming and forestry; production; and architectural and engineering occupations.

Females represented a higher percent of total employment in health diagnosing and treating practitioners; education and training occupations; community and social service; personal care and service; office and administrative support; health care support; and health technician and technologist occupations. Occupational distribution by sex was very similar in Josephine County. While the data from ACS show 100 percent of occupational employment in five categories that are exclusively male, realistically there are likely some women working in those occupations, so again the margin of error in these sample-based estimates should be considered.

Median Earnings by Sex

In Jackson County, women earned 76 cents to each dollar earned by men, for full-time, year-round workers. Women did have higher median earnings in a few occupational groups: computer and mathematical; community and social services; and food preparation and serving related. Median earnings were similar in business and financial operations; health technicians and technologists; personal care and service; and natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations. The other groups showed that male earnings exceeded female earnings in Jackson County.

For more information from the American Community Survey go to: The depth and breadth of the data available is remarkable. Enjoy the new 2015 data and be looking forward to the five-year estimates that provide a larger sample size, smaller margins of error, and data for smaller geographies in early December 2016.