Manufacturing and Information Damper Wasco County’s Payroll Growth in 2018

by Dallas Fridley

May 6, 2019

Wasco County’s total all industries payroll grew by $11.2 million in 2018 to total $474.6 million, a tepid increase of 2.4 percent. All industries employment actually suffered a loss of 326 jobs or 2.7 percent, falling to 11,686. Wasco County’s 2018 all industries pay averaged $40,610, an increase of $2,038 or 5.3 percent over 2017.

Oregon’s all industries average wage reached $53,058 in 2018, about $12,400 higher than Wasco County’s. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Wasco County’s average wage ranked near the middle of the pack, in 17th position, just behind Douglas County ($40,782) and just ahead of Hood River County ($40,285). Only three counties, Clackamas ($53,242), Multnomah ($59,978), and Washington ($70,308) exceeded Oregon’s 2018 average wage. The annual wage gap for 25 of Oregon’s 36 counties exceeded $10,000 in 2018.

Wasco County’s private industry payroll rose by $11.0 million in 2018 to total $371.4 million, an increase of 3.1 percent. Despite the payroll increase, private industry employment fell to 9,738 jobs, a loss of 157 or 1.6 percent.

Professional and business services led Wasco County in 2018 with a payroll gain of $7.8 million or an impressive 34.5 percent, rising to $30.4 million. Professional and business services paid an average $48,661 in 2018, about 20 percent or $8,100 above Wasco County’s all industries average wage. Employment in professional and business services rose by 20.9 percent or 108 jobs in 2018 to average 624.

Education and health services boasted Wasco County’s largest private industry payroll in 2018, at $111.5 million. Payrolls in education and health services rose by $6.3 million or 6 percent in 2018. Employment rose by 4.7 percent or 105 jobs to average 2,343, while raking as Wasco County’s largest private industry. Note that a legislative change moved home health care workers out of state government ownership in 2018, providing a significant boost to education and health services. Wages in education and health services, at $47,607, produced a gap of 17.2 percent or about $7,000 compared with Wasco County’s all industries average.

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities produced a payroll gain of 20 percent in 2018, rising by $1.8 million to total $10.7 million. Employment rose by 25 jobs or 14.8 percent to average 194. Wages in transportation, warehousing, and utilities averaged $54,927 in 2018, about $14,300 or 35 percent higher than Wasco County’s all industries average wage.

Wasco County’s information industry cut its payroll by $3.5 million or nearly 12 percent in 2018, falling to $26.9 million. The information industry’s annual wage fell by $11,228 to average $151,264, about $110,700 higher than Wasco County’s all industries average pay. Information’s 2018 payroll exceeded totals for manufacturing ($26.4 million), construction ($17.2 million), leisure and hospitality ($25.6 million), and federal government ($24.7 million), to name a few.

Manufacturing suffered a payroll loss of $3.6 million or about 12 percent, falling to $26.4 million in 2018. Employment in manufacturing fell by 11.8 percent or 85 jobs to average 637. Manufacturing pay also lost ground in 2018, falling by 0.2 percent to average $41,509. Manufacturing maintained a slight gap of about $900 or 2.2 percent over Wasco County’s all industries average.

Financial activities produced a notable payroll gain of 6.6 percent in 2018, rising to $11 million. Employment in financial activities rose by 15 jobs or 6.1 percent to average 262. Financial activities paid an average $42,173 in 2018, about 4 percent or $1,600 above Wasco County’s all industries average.

Government payrolls rose by a scant 0.2 percent to total $103.2 million in 2018. Government employment actually fell by 169 jobs or 8 percent in 2018 to average 1,948 jobs. State government cut 100 jobs with the reclassification of home care workers to private industry (education and health services), falling to 250 jobs, while its payrolls sank to $14.7 million, a loss of $1.2 million. State government pay averaged $58,883 in 2018, about $18,300 higher than Wasco County’s all industries average pay. Federal government payrolls rose by $0.4 million to total $24.7 million, while its employment totaled 290, an increase of one job. Federal government pay averaged $85,269, exceeding Wasco County’s all industries average by $44,659. Local government produced a $1.1 million payroll gain but lost jobs in 2018, falling by 70 (-4.7%) to average 1,408. Local government wages averaged $45,271 in 2018, rising by $2,858 or 6.7 percent.

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