Natural Resources and Mining Leads Wasco County’s Payroll Growth in 2019

by Dallas Fridley

September 23, 2020

Wasco County’s total all-industries payroll grew by $13.7 million in 2019 to total $487.5 million, an increase of just 3 percent. All industries employment rose by 120 jobs or 1 percent, inching up to 11,767. Wasco County’s 2019 all-industries pay averaged $41,427, an increase of $748 or 2 percent over 2018.
Oregon’s all-industries average wage reached $55,019 in 2019, $13,592 higher than Wasco County’s $41,427. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Wasco’s average wage ranked near the middle of the pack, in 17th position, just behind Umatilla ($41,574) and just ahead of Coos ($40,895). The annual wage gap for 24 of Oregon’s 36 counties exceeded $10,000 in 2019. Only two counties, Multnomah ($62,056) and Washington ($73,226), exceeded Oregon’s 2019 average wage. Together, Multnomah and Washington counties paid out 51 percent of Oregon’s $107.5 billion payroll, or about $54.5 billion, while hosting 36 percent of its jobs. Outside Multnomah and Washington counties, average pay for the remaining 34 Oregon counties falls to $46,901, a drop of about $8,100 or 15 percent.

Wasco County’s private industry payroll rose by $11.7 million in 2019 to total $383 million, an increase of 3 percent. Private industry employment reached 9,904 jobs, an increase of 165 or about 2 percent.

Natural resources and mining led Wasco County in 2019 with a payroll gain of $3.6 million or a robust 9 percent, rising to $44.7 million. Natural resources and mining paid an average $26,494 in 2019, trailing Wasco County’s all industries average wage by 14,993 or 36 percent. Employment in natural resources and mining rose by 10 percent or 160 jobs in 2019 to average 1,686.

Education and health services boasted Wasco County’s largest private industry payroll in 2019, at $115.1 million. Payrolls in education and health services rose by about $3.6 million or 3 percent in 2019. Employment held steady in 2019 with 2,343 jobs, more than enough to rank as Wasco County’s largest private industry. Wages in education and health services, at $49,123, produced a gap of 19 percent or about $7,700 compared with Wasco County’s all-industries average.

Retail trade produced a payroll gain of 3 percent in 2019, rising by $1.5 million to total $51.6 million. Employment rose by 27 jobs or 2 percent to average 1,683. Wages in retail trade averaged $30,687 in 2019, trailing Wasco County’s all-industries average by 10,740 or 26 percent.

Wasco County’s information industry cut its payroll by $1.2 million or 4 percent in 2019, falling to $25.8 million. The information industry’s annual wage fell by $8,073 to average $143,191, an amazing 2.5 times or $101,764 higher than Wasco County’s all-industries average pay. Information’s 2019 payroll ranked below manufacturing ($26.2 million) and leisure and hospitality ($26.9 million) but exceeded federal government ($25 million) and construction ($17.9 million).

Manufacturing experienced a payroll loss of $0.3 million or about 1 percent, falling to $26.2 million in 2019. Employment in manufacturing fell by 5 percent or 34 jobs to average 603. Despite the payroll and jobs loss, manufacturing’s average wage rose by $1,885 or 5 percent to $43,401. Manufacturing wages exceeded Wasco County’s all-industries average by nearly $2,000 or 5 percent.

Professional and business services cut its payrolls by 1 percent or about $0.2 million in 2019, falling to $30.1 million. Employment in professional and business services fell by 53 jobs or 8 percent to average 571. Professional and business services paid an average $52,750 in 2019, about 27 percent or $11,323 above Wasco County’s all-industries pay.

Government payrolls rose by 2 percent to total $104.5 million in 2019. Government employment actually fell by 45 jobs or 2 percent in 2019 to average 1,863. State government led the way, rising by three jobs, while its payrolls surged to $15.4 million, an increase of $0.7 million or 5 percent. State government pay averaged $61,055 in 2019, about $19,600 or 47 percent higher than Wasco County’s all-industries average. Federal government payrolls rose by $0.3 million to total $25 million, while its employment averaged 288, a loss of two jobs. Federal government pay exceeded Wasco County’s all-industries average by $45,506 or 110 percent to average $86,933. Local government payrolls rose by about $1.0 million, however the industry lost jobs in 2019, falling by 49 or 3 percent to average 1,322. Local government pay averaged $48,446 in 2019, an increase of $2,377 or 5 percent.

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