Fourth Quarter 2018: Numbers of Jobs Continue to Increase Steadily

by Erik Knoder

July 9, 2019

Oregon’s employers reported a total of 2,165,760 jobs – 1,896,373 of which were in the private sector – during the fourth quarter of 2018. This continued an upward trend in employment that began in 2010. The median (middle) wage of all non-federal jobs was $20.25 per hour. State government jobs had the highest median wage at $33.97 per hour. The information industry (including the computer industry) had the second-highest median wage at $33.13 per hour. Leisure and hospitality, as usual, had the lowest median wage of all industries at $13.81 per hour. Oregon’s minimum wage ranged from $10.50 per hour to $12.00 per hour depending on the business location.

People interested in jobs data sometimes ask, exactly what counts as a job? When discussing data from wage records such as this article does, a job is the unique combination of a single social security number and a single employer identification number. In other words, it is one person being paid by one employer. People can hold multiple jobs, in which case a single social security number will be paired with multiple employer identification numbers. And, of course, an employer can provide multiple jobs, in which case a single employer identification number will be paired with multiple social security numbers. But each unique pair of social security number and employer identification number is counted as one job.

During the fourth quarter of 2018, 228,128 people (social security numbers) were paired with multiple employer identification numbers (employers). That’s an awkward way of saying that these people held multiple jobs during the quarter. Because the data cover the entire quarter, it isn’t possible to know how many of these people held their multiple jobs at the same time and how many simply switched one job for another during the quarter. Some people may be doing both because 6,174 people held four or more jobs during the quarter.
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 work hours during the quarter are also excluded.

Oregon employers must report total wages and hours worked for each employee covered by unemployment insurance. These quarterly records cover more than two million individuals employed in the state but don’t include roughly 280,000 self-employed workers. Past quarterly wage reports are available in the Oregonians @ Work box at www.QualityInfo.org/pubs.


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