Gilliam County’s Payroll Rose by 15% in 2020 to Reach $51.2 Million

by Dallas Fridley

December 14, 2021

Gilliam County’s total all ownerships payroll grew by $6.8 million in 2020 to total $51.2 million, an increase of 15.4%. Gilliam’s 2020 payroll growth ranked second among Oregon’s 36 counties, while five counties, including Clatsop, Hood River, Lincoln, Linn, and Wheeler, suffered a payroll loss. Oregon’s payroll rose by 2.4% or $2.6 billion to $110.1 billion, while its remaining 31 counties, including Gilliam, managed at least some 2020 payroll growth.
One big caveat for 2020 was the Paycheck Protection Program, which distributed $2.6 million in loan assistance to eligible Gilliam County business. A total of 94 loans were approved with 92 loans or about $2.4 million forgiven to date according to the SBA. To be eligible for forgiveness, at least 60% of the total borrowed or close to $1.6 million had to be spent on payroll costs. These payroll costs could be incurred in 2020 or 2021 or both years depending on the period covered by the loan. The window for forgiveness is open for 10 months following the last day of the covered loan period.

On the employment side, 33 of 36 Oregon counties suffered 2020 job losses. Gilliam County (1.3%) joined Crook (+4.2%) and Sherman (+0.9%) in avoiding a 2020 job loss. Total all ownerships (private and government) employment in Gilliam County rose by 12 jobs or 1.3% in 2020, compared with Oregon’s 6.0% loss. Gilliam County’s 2020 employment rose to 950 jobs, establishing a new peak. Wages rose considerably in 2020, with Gilliam County’s average reaching $53,869, an increase of $6,579 or 13.9% over 2019.

Oregon’s all industries average wage reached $59,925 in 2020, exceeding Gilliam County’s average by about $6,600. Among Oregon counties, Gilliam’s average wage ranked sixth highest, just behind Benton ($58,052) and just ahead of Crook ($53,585). The annual wage gap for 26 of Oregon’s 36 counties exceeded $10,000 in 2020. Only three counties, Morrow ($60,567), Multnomah ($68,054), and Washington ($79,899) exceeded Oregon’s 2020 average wage. Multnomah County boasted Oregon’s largest payroll in 2020, with $32.5 billion or 29.5% of Oregon’s total payroll. Washington County’s 2020 payroll, at $22.8 billion, ranked second (Gilliam 34th). Together the two counties held just over half of Oregon’s $110.1 billion payroll while hosting nearly 42% of its jobs. Excluding Multnomah and Washington, average pay for Oregon’s remaining 34 counties falls to $50,985, a drop of about $8,940 or 15%.

Gilliam County’s 2020 private industry payroll totaled $42.3 million, rising by 18.6% or $6.6 million. Gilliam County’s private industry employment rose to 732 jobs in 2020, an increase of 30 jobs or 4.3%. Confidentiality is an issue for several industries in Gilliam County and its private industry payroll gain is difficult to pinpoint without those details. Industry breakouts for construction, manufacturing, and information are not disclosed due to confidentiality.

Trade, transportation, and utilities cut its payroll by $0.1 million in 2020, dropping to $6.3 million, a loss of 1.6%. Employment in trade, transportation, and utilities fell by nine jobs or 6.6% while pay averaged $49,456, about $4,400 shy of Gilliam County’s $53,869 all ownerships wage.

Payrolls in professional and business services fell by about $0.2 million or 1.6% in 2020 to $14.6 million. Professional and business services represented about one-third of Gilliam County’s total private industry payroll. Professional and business services paid $61,936 in 2020, about $8,100 above Gilliam County’s average wage. Professional and business services cut two jobs in 2020 to average 236.

Leisure and hospitality cut its payroll by $0.2 million in 2020, falling to $0.5 million. Leisure and hospitality’s annual wage fell by $2,286 to average $13,847, about $40,000 below Gilliam County’s average pay.

Local government payroll rose by $0.2 million in 2020 to reach $8 million. On the employment side, local government cut 17 jobs, falling to 200, while its average pay rose to $39,951, an increase of $4,041. Local government wages lagged Gilliam County’s all ownerships average by around $13,900.

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