Hood River County’s 2021 Payroll Tops $647 Million

by Dallas Fridley

September 9, 2022

Hood River County’s total all ownerships payroll grew by $66.4 million in 2021 to total $647 million, an increase of 11.4%. Hood River’s $66.4 million gain ranked 20th among Oregon’s 36 counties, while its 11.4% increase earned a spot in the top five. Government payroll rose by $4.9 million to reach $74 million (+7.1%). Private industry payrolls rose to $573.1 million, an increase of $61.5 million (+12%). Oregon’s 2021 payroll rose by 9.4% or $10.4 billion to reach $120.4 billion.
Employment growth lagged payroll growth in 2021, rising by 2.6% or 348 jobs to average 13,611. Hood River County remained 780 jobs (-5.4%) below its 2019 employment peak (14,391 jobs) despite its 2021 rebound. Oregon’s 2021 employment rose by about 44,300 jobs or 2.4% to 1,880,900. Hood River County’s job growth ranked 18th or middle of the pack in 2021 with Crook County’s 7.5% increase ranking first; 33 of 36 Oregon counties added jobs in 2021.

Oregon’s average wage reached $64,018 in 2021, exceeding Hood River County’s $47,607 by about $16,400 or 26%. Hood River average wage ranked 18th highest in Oregon, rising from 22nd highest in 2020. Hood River County’s average wage ranked just behind Umatilla in 17th ($47,973) and just ahead of Columbia ($47,495). The annual wage gap exceeded $10,000 for 27 of Oregon’s 36 counties in 2021. Only two counties, Multnomah ($72,532) and Washington ($86,181), exceeded Oregon’s 2021 average wage. Multnomah County boasted Oregon’s largest payroll in 2021, with $34.9 billion or 29% of Oregon’s total payroll. Washington County’s 2021 payroll, at $25.2 billion ranked second (Hood River 20th). Together the two metro counties held 49.9% of Oregon’s $120.4 billion payroll while hosting 41.1% of its jobs. Excluding Multnomah and Washington, average pay for Oregon’s remaining 34 counties falls to $54,460, a drop of about $9,600 or 15%.

Hood River County’s private industry payroll rose by $61.5 million in 2021 to total $573.1 million, an increase of 12%. Private industry employment rose to 12,387, an increase of 346 jobs or 2.9%. Private industry remained 722 jobs or 5.5% below its 2019 peak.

Professional and business services led Hood River County in 2021 with a payroll gain of $21.4 million or 25.9%, rising to $104.3 million. Professional and business services produced 32% of Hood River County’s $61.5 million private industry payroll increase and boasted its largest industry payroll. Employment fell by 20 jobs despite the industry’s tremendous payroll gain to average 1,007. Annual wages in professional and business services reached $103,546 in 2021, an increase of 28.4% or $22,872.

Leisure and hospitality increased its payroll by $12 million or 26.1% in 2021, rising to $57.9 million. Employment rose to 2,178 in 2021, an increase of 306 jobs or 16.3%. Leisure and hospitality’s annual wage rose by $2,056 to average $26,592, about $20,900 below Hood River County’s average pay. Leisure and hospitality’s 2021 payroll ranked above retail trade ($47.1 million) but below natural resources and mining ($71.7 million). The industry remained 196 jobs or 8.3% below its 2019 pre-pandemic peak, while its payroll grew by 8.2%.

Education and health services increased its 2021 payroll by $10.8 million or 12.5%. Employment rose by 86 jobs to reach 1,834, an increase of 4.9%. Education and health services ranked as Hood River County’s second largest private industry in 2021, based on both employment and payroll. The average wage in education and health services reached $53,298, an increase of 7.2% or $3,577.

Manufacturing grew its payroll by $8.1 million in 2021 to reach $93.1 million, an increase of 9.6%. Employment rose by 117 jobs or 6.9% in 2021 to average 1,805. Wages increased by $1,254, up 2.5% to $51,554, more than $4,000 above the county’s all industries average.

Natural resources and mining ranked as Hood River County’s largest industry based on employment with 2,291 jobs in 2021. Employment in natural resources and mining fell by 95 jobs in 2021 while its total payroll rose to $71.7 million, an increase of 6.1% or $4.1 million. Natural resources and mining paid an average $31,302 in 2021 about $16,200 below Hood River County’s all industries average pay. Looking back to 2019, natural resources and mining has lost 227 jobs over two years, a drop of 9%. Despite the job loss, payrolls in natural resources and mining rose by 4.2% or $2.9 million from 2019 to 2021.

Retail trade increased its payrolls by $3.6 million in 2021 (+8.3%) to reach $47.1 million. Employment rose by 43 jobs or 3% to reach 1,459; just below 2019’s 1,475 jobs. Wages in retail trade averaged $32,280 in 2021, nearly $15,300 below Hood River County’s all industries average.

Information lost 12.1% of its payroll and 16% of its jobs in 2021. Payrolls in information dropped to $7.7 million, a loss of $1.1 million, while its employment averaged 100 jobs (-19). Average wages in information climbed by 4.6% or $3,393 in 2021 to $77,430, nearly $29,900 ahead of Hood River County’s average.

Other services cut its payrolls by $3.9 million or 26.1% to $11.1 million in 2021. The industry cut 89 jobs, a loss of 22%, to average 316. Wages in other services fell to $35,097 (-$1,980), trailing the county’s 2021 average by $12,441. Other services lost 32.9% of its jobs and 29.4% of its payroll since 2019. The loss in other services represented one out of five jobs cut by private industry between 2019 and 2021 (-722 jobs).

Government payrolls rose by $4.9 million or 7.1% in 2021 to total $74 million. Employment changed very little, rising by two jobs or 0.2% to average 1,224. Local government represented about 83% of the public sector’s jobs in 2021 and nearly 88% or the payroll. Local government payrolls rose by $4.3 million or 7.7% in 2021 to reach $60.1 million, while its pay averaged $59,346.


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