First Quarter 2022: Oregonians at Work – Increasing Jobs and Wage Growth by SectorNovember 30, 2022
Oregon had 1.96 million people working in jobs covered by the state’s unemployment insurance system during the first quarter of 2022. This was an increase of 98,000, or 5.3%, from the same quarter of the previous year, showing a solid recovery from the pandemic recession by surpassing the number of workers in the first quarter of 2019 (1.93 million). They earned a total of $30.3 billion, with an average wage of about $15,489 per worker for the quarter. The median hourly wage during the quarter was $25.00.
Oregon employers reported more than 2.1 million jobs during the first quarter of 2022. The vast majority of Oregonians held one job during the first quarter of 2022. The share of workers with one job in the first quarter has stayed relatively stable over the past few years, though is slightly lower in 2022 at 88.9%, compared with 89.6% in 2019 through 2021. Approximately 9.8% of workers in the first quarter of 2022 held two jobs, 1.0% of workers held three jobs, and 0.2% of workers held four or more jobs.
The median wage rose by an inflation-adjusted $0.04 over the year. Six industries saw real gains in which the median wage grew by more than $0.04: retail trade; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; professional and business services; health care and social assistance; leisure and hospitality; and other services. Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest real gain in median wage percentage growth from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022. Private educational services jobs saw the biggest decrease in real median wage – in both real dollar value and real percentage change.
Upper wage growth ($50 per hour or more) across all industries was 18.8% between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022. Seven industries – construction, retail trade, information, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, local government, and non-classifiable – had faster upper wage growth than all industries. Financial activities had the smallest upper wage growth at 6.8%. The number of jobs paying less than $15 per hour decreased by 141,500. Jobs paying at least $15 per hour but less than $30 increased by 152,800, and jobs paying at least $30 per hour but less than $50 increased by 52,000. Jobs paying over $50 per hour increased by 59,600.
The share of jobs in each wage category, except those with wages greater than $50 per hour, increased the most in leisure and hospitality over the year, which makes sense intuitively. This is likely due to the rapid recovery of jobs in leisure and hospitality following the severe pandemic recession that disproportionately affected this industry. The leisure and hospitality industry increased by 46,200 jobs over the year, or 25.7%. The greatest increase in share of jobs in the $50-$59.99 wage category from the first quarter of 2021 to first quarter 2022 was in local government, while the greatest increase in share of jobs over $60 per hour was in professional and business services.
When looking at the change in number of jobs from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022, it can be more helpful to look at the percentage of all jobs rather than the raw numerical value to put it in perspective. For example, leisure and hospitality is a huge industry, with over 225,500 jobs in the first quarter of 2022. This was an increase of 46,200 jobs from the first quarter of 2021. The share of jobs in leisure and hospitality increased from making up 9% of all jobs to 11%. Professional and business services, non-classifiable, and private educational services jobs also increased in their share of all jobs. Financial activities added 300 jobs from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022, but decreased in its share of all jobs. Health care and social assistance decreased in both the number of jobs (-1,500) from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022 as well as its share of all jobs.
It comes as no surprise that firms with at least 500 employees have the greatest number of jobs. Jobs in firms with 500 or more employees make up 35% of all jobs. Firms with 20 to 49 employees and firms with 100 to 249 employees rank second in size, making up 13% of all jobs each.
Generally speaking, larger employers tend to pay higher wages. Firms with 500 or more employees had a median wage of $29.20 – more than $4 higher than the next highest median wage ($25.08). Firms with less than five employees had a median wage ($23.37) very similar to firms with 50 to 99 employees ($23.61). Overall, firms with at least 10 employees but less than 500 employees paid a median wage between about $22 and $25. The substantial jump in median wage occurred between firms with 250 to 499 employees and firms with 500 or more employees.
When looking at real median wage growth (which accounts for inflation) by size class, firms with less than five employees, five to nine employees, 10 to 19 employees, 100 to 249 employees, and 250 to 499 employees had positive growth. Firms with 500 or more employees had the largest drop in real wage gain, a decrease of 1.2%, from the first quarter of 2021 to first quarter 2022. Firms with less than five employees had the largest real median wage gain with a 2.6% increase from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022. It will be interesting to see how median wage changes by firm size as the data for the rest of 2022 becomes available.
To provide better data, this analysis also filters out job records that probably contain errors. Jobs that report zero hours or more than 999 hours (about 77 hours per week) worked in a quarter and jobs that paid less than the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) are excluded. Jobs that paid more than $500 per hour and reported less than 10 hours work during the quarter are also excluded.