Lane County Industry Employment Trends by Wage Category

by Brian Rooney

March 6, 2017

Data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program can be used to track changes in industry employment based on annual average wage categories.  Looking at the growth of industries by wage level over the past six years provides insight into the types of industries creating jobs coming out of the Great Recession.

For this analysis detailed industries were sorted by annual average wage and then separated into thirds to create low-wage, medium-wage and high-wage categories. The third quarter of 2010 was then compared with the third quarter of 2013 to see which wage categories grew the most in the first three years after the recession. The same was done for the third quarter of 2013 compared with 2016 to see which wage categories grew the most later in the recovery.

Overall, employment growth in Lane County accelerated between 2013 and 2016 compared with the previous three-year period. Between 2010 and 2013 employment grew from 133,382 to 137,683 or 3.2 percent, a little over 1 percent per year on an annualized basis. During the following three years total employment grew from 137,683 to 150,433, or 9.3 percent, a little over 3 percent on an annualized basis.

2010 – 2013

As the graph shows, for the first three years coming out of the recession low-wage industries added the most jobs at 3,114 or 6.7 percent growth. Some of the industries with low annual average wages adding the most jobs included food services and drinking places (+1,145, 10.6%), gasoline stations (+314, 40.3%) and nursing and residential care facilities (+266, 6.2%).
Medium-wage jobs had the highest percentage growth at 9.9 percent, or 1,308 jobs. Forestry and logging (+205, 33.2%), plastics and rubber manufacturing (+171, 104.3%), building materials & garden supply stores (+160, 11.2%) and beverage manufacturing (+160, 44.2%), which included new and expanding breweries, added the most.

High-wage industries had the least job growth both numerically (+1,188) and by percentage (2.9%) in the first three years coming out of the recession. Some industries continued to lose jobs as the recession ended, slowing the overall growth of the wage category. These included transportation equipment manufacturing (-251, -31.8%), which was mostly RV manufacturing, and computer and electronic manufacturing (-96, -14.4%). Some high-wage industries had strong growth including ambulatory health care services (+591, 8.6%), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+282, 12.1%) and truck transportation (+244, 22.7%).

2013 – 2016

In the next three years after the recession, industries with low annual average wages again added the most jobs (+6,302) but at an accelerated pace (12.5%). The low-wage industry adding the most jobs was administrative and support services (+1,733, 23.6%), which is largely temporary help firms and call centers. Other low-wage industries adding jobs were food service and drinking places (+1,394, 11.7%) and nursing and residential care services (+614, 13.4%).

Medium-wage industries had a similar growth rate compared with the previous three years adding 1,476 jobs with a 10.2 percent growth rate. Three of the top four industries adding the most jobs were related to the food and beverage sector including food manufacturing (+319, 19.8%), beverage manufacturing (+145, 27.8%) and their secondary industry, nondurable goods wholesalers (+250, 11.8%). The fourth was repair and maintenance (+207, 16.2%).

Finally, industries with high annual average wages accelerated job growth in the most recent three-year period, adding 3,327 jobs for an 8.1 percent growth rate. Like the previous three-year period, the high-wage industry adding the most jobs was again ambulatory health care services, which added 1,079 jobs for a 14.5 percent growth rate. Management of companies and enterprises was second with 845 new jobs and a 42.6 percent growth rate. Specialty trade contractors was third with a gain of 700 jobs or 21.0 percent as construction finally grew after lagging coming out of the recession.


In the first three years coming out of the Great Recession industries with low annual average wages added the most jobs in Lane County while the medium- and high-wage industries grew slowly. High-wage industries in particular continued to have significant losses during the period, especially in manufacturing.

In the second three-year period, low annual average wage industries continued to add the most jobs, but high annual average wage jobs started to add jobs as construction picked up after lagging coming out of the recession.

Industries associated with health care and food and beverage production added jobs in both three-year periods and across all wage categories.

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