Oregon Jobs in 2017: A Wage Data Perspective

by Barbara Peniston

July 10, 2018

In 2017, all broad industries provided 3,070,590 jobs, a gain of 187,141 (almost 3 percent) over the prior year. Over the year, almost all broad industries experienced growth in numbers of jobs. Leisure and hospitality, construction, and health care and social assistance enjoyed the largest absolute gains, of 16,754, 14,313, and 13,559 jobs, respectively. Construction posted the largest year-over-year percent increase, at 8.9 percent. State government, other services, and information were the only industries that shed jobs in 2017, for an unremarkable loss of 484 jobs in total.
The largest number of jobs (436,451 or 14.2% of the jobs pie) was held by professional and business services in 2017. The leisure and hospitality industry ran a close second, capturing 418,134 (13.6%) jobs that year. In terms of percent increase, that industry has rebounded more than any other (up 17.5%) since the recession a decade ago. Four broad industries – construction (down 9.2% from 2006), manufacturing (-10.6%), information (-10.5%) and financial activities (-11.9%) – have yet to regain the jobs they lost during the recession.

The median hourly wage of jobs in all broad industries rose from $16.30 to $17.03 per hour in 2017 – a year-over-year increase of 4.5 percent, likely boosted by increases in the minimum wage. All individual broad industries saw their median wages increase. Professional and business services (which includes temporary help businesses) recorded the largest over-the-year median wage increase, at 8.6 percent. The real (inflation-adjusted) median hourly wages tell a somewhat different story. They shrink the year-over-year all industries median hourly wage increase to 2.3 percent and professional and business service’s increase to 6.3 percent.

Nearly 23 percent of all 2017 jobs paid at least $30.00 per hour. About 41 percent paid at least $20.00 per hour; roughly the same percent also paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the smallest hourly wage class posted job gains. The $10.00 to $14.99 category had the highest year-over-year percent increase in jobs – 12.3 percent. The increase is not surprising, given minimum wage increases and the concentration of job gains in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. As of July 1, 2017, the lowest minimum wage in Oregon was $10.00 per hour. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest ($60.00 or more) wage class showed the second largest gain in numbers of jobs (9.4%). Nine percent of all jobs paid $50 or more per hour; the top two classes together saw an 18.1 percent increase in number of jobs in 2017.

Detailed annual tables are available in the Oregonians @ Work box on the Publications page at www.QualityInfo.org.

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