Oregon Jobs in 2018: A Wage Data Perspective

by Barbara Peniston

July 11, 2019

In 2018, all broad industries in Oregon provided 3,142,370 jobs, a gain of 71,780 (2.3 percent) over the prior year. Over the year, almost all broad industries experienced growth in numbers of jobs. Heath care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services enjoyed the largest absolute gains, of 32,031, 13,695, and 13,294 jobs, respectively. Heath care and social assistance also posted the largest year-over-year percent increase, at 8.9 percent. Natural resources and mining and wholesale trade were the only private-sector industries that shed jobs in 2018, for a total loss of 6,565 jobs.

People interested in jobs data sometimes ask, exactly what counts as a job? When discussing data from wage records such as this article does, a job is the unique combination of a single social security number and a single employer identification number. In other words, it is one person being paid by one employer. People can hold multiple jobs, in which case a single social security number will be paired with multiple employer identification numbers. And, of course, an employer can provide multiple jobs, in which case a single employer identification number will be paired with multiple social security numbers. But each unique pair of a social security number and an employer identification number is counted as one job.
The largest number of jobs (449,745 – 14.3% of the jobs pie) was held by professional and business services in 2018. The leisure and hospitality industry ran not far behind, capturing 431,829 (13.8% of all) jobs that year. In terms of percent increase, that industry has rebounded more than any other (up 21.4%) since the recession a decade ago. Despite over-the-year gains, three broad industries – construction (down 3.5% from 2006), manufacturing (-5.1%), and financial activities (-8.6%) – have yet to regain all the jobs they lost during the recession.

The median hourly wage of jobs in all broad industries rose from $17.03 to $17.79 per hour in 2018 – 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. Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest over-the-year median wage increase, at 7.8 percent. The real (inflation-adjusted) change in median hourly wages are generally less impressive. They shrink the year-over-year all industries median hourly wage increase to 2.0 percent and leisure and hospitality’s increase to a still notable 5.2 percent.

Almost one-quarter (24.2%) of all 2018 jobs paid at least $30.00 per hour. Nearly 43 percent (1,349,020 jobs) paid at least $20.00 per hour; larger than the percentage (37.2%) that paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the smallest hourly wage class posted job gains. The $15.00 to $19.99 category had the highest year-over-year percent increase in jobs at 12.0 percent. The latter 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, 2018, the lowest minimum wage in Oregon was $10.50 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 (11.0%). Nearly 10 percent of all jobs paid $50 or more per hour; the top two classes together also saw a 10 percent increase in number of jobs in 2018.
To see detailed annual tables, visit www.QualityInfo.org and go to the Wages and Income link to find Quarterly Wage Tables.

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