Jackson Job Growth by Wage Level

Jackson Job Growth by Wage Level

by Guy Tauer

November 3, 2016

New data regarding employment and wages by industry for second quarter 2016 were recently released. These detailed industry statistics can shed additional light on what industries have added employment and the average wage per job those industries pay. An earlier analysis that examined job losses and gains by wage level from before the Great Recession and through the early part of the recovery showed that lower-wage jobs were well above their pre-recession peak by the fourth quarter of 2014. Middle-wage jobs had essentially recovered to their pre-recession employment levels while high-wage jobs had only recovered about one-half of the losses incurred during the deep downturn.

Job growth has continued in Jackson County. Private-sector payroll employment rose from 62,637 in the second quarter of 2015 to 64,635 in the second quarter of 2016, an increase of nearly 2000 jobs or 3.2 percent. Let's take a closer look at the distribution of those gains by wage level. In this analysis industries were grouped to split those roughly 64,000 jobs into nearly equal sized groups. Detailed data at the 3 digit NAICS industry classification was used in this review, so there are a few industries that are excluded if the data are suppressed due to confidentiality restrictions.

Lower-Wage Industries

Lower wage industries had the fastest rate of growth during those four quarters, up by 4.2 percent, or a gain of almost 850 jobs. More than one-half of the gain was due to growth in the food services and drinking places industry, adding just less than 500 jobs. Payroll employment rose sharply in membership organizations and associations, up by 12.2 percent or about 150 new jobs. Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are included in membership organizations, likely contributing to some of that high growth rate. Food and beverage stores, accommodations, and miscellaneous store retailers also boosted employment during that time. Only one lower-wage industry lost notable jobs. Administrative and support services employment declined by about 50 jobs.

Medium-Wage Industries

This group of industries added almost 600 jobs in Jackson County between the second quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016, for a 2.8 percent increase. Two construction industries added the most jobs. Specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings gained a combined 420 payroll jobs. Employment in trade increased with gains in general merchandise stores, building material and garden supply stores, and furniture and home furnishing stores. A few manufacturing industries also gained jobs including machinery, furniture and related products, and fabricated metal product manufacturing. There were slight jobs losses in food manufacturing, forestry and logging, nursing and residential care facilities, beverage manufacturing, and health and personal care stores during those four quarters.

High-Wage Industries

Higher wage industries added 716 jobs and had slightly faster employment growth (3.5%) than average for all industry groups. Ambulatory health care services added the most jobs from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2016, up by 205. Professional and technical services, and transportation equipment manufacturing both added 116 jobs during that time. Other high-wage manufacturing industries boosting employment included wood product manufacturing and chemical manufacturing. A few industries in this group lost jobs. Truck transportation lost about 20 jobs and computer and electronic equipment manufacturing employment slipped by 38. Insurance carriers; isps, search portals, and data processing; and telecommunications also lost a few jobs during that time.

Trends in Average Weekly Hours for All Employees

One often asked question is about full-time versus part-time jobs. Are the new jobs that are being added offering fewer work hours? We don't have the break-out between part and full-time employment for local areas, but Oregon statewide trends show little change over the past 20 years in the distribution of jobs between full and part-time. About 80 percent are considered full-time and about 20 percent are part-time in Oregon. During and shortly following the recession, there was a very slight increase in part-time jobs, but in the later stages of Oregon's recovery, the split between full and part-time employment has edged back closer to its historical 80/20 split. Data are available for Jackson County on the average weekly hours worked for all employees. This shows a generally rising average workweek after the Great Recession, but down about one hour from a peak September figure in 2014 of 34.8 hours to 33.7 in September 2016. Average weekly hours for all employees were essentially unchanged from September 2015 to September 2016.