Oregon Jobs in 2019: A Wage Data Perspective

by Barbara Peniston

July 15, 2020

In 2019, Oregon’s industries provided 3,179,591 jobs, a gain of 37,221 (1.2%) over the prior year. Over the year, almost all broad industries experienced growth in numbers of jobs. Industries enjoying the largest absolute gains included transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+15,578); heath care and social assistance (+10,659); and natural resources (+6,765). Transportation, warehousing, and utilities also posted the largest year-over-year percent increase, at 16.5 percent. Four broad industries lost jobs. Retail trade was down by 4,218 jobs and manufacturing down by 3,671. Information and financial activities shed a combined total of 1,040 jobs.
The largest number of jobs (452,400 – 14.2% of the jobs pie) was held by professional and business services in 2019. The leisure and hospitality industry ran not far behind, capturing 435,640 (13.7% of all) jobs that year. In terms of percent increase, the transportation, warehousing, and utilities industry has grown (up 36.8%) more than any other since 2007. Leisure and hospitality (+22.4%), other services (+21.2%), professional and business services (+18.9%), and natural resources (+17.8%) have also experienced significant job growth since 2007.

The median hourly wage of all jobs rose from $17.79 to $18.51 per hour in 2019 – a year-over-year increase of 4.0 percent, likely boosted by increases in the minimum wage. With the exception of transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-1.7%), all individual broad industries saw their median wages increase. Leisure and hospitality again recorded the largest over-the-year median wage increase, at 6.8 percent. The real (inflation-adjusted) median hourly wages for 2019 are somewhat less impressive. The year-over-year all industries median hourly wage increase was only 2.2 percent after adjusting for inflation and leisure and hospitality’s increase was still a notable 4.9 percent. In turn, the real transportation, warehousing, and utilities real median wage dropped by 3.4 percent.

A quarter (25.4%) of all 2019 jobs paid at least $30.00 per hour. Forty-five percent (1,434,695 jobs) paid at least $20.00 per hour; much larger than the percentage (33.0%) that paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the lowest hourly wage class posted job gains. The $15.00 to $19.99 category had the highest year-over-year percent increase in jobs at 11.3 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, 2019, the standard minimum wage in Oregon was $11.25 per hour. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest ($60.00 or more) wage class showed the second fastest gain in numbers of jobs (9.0%). Just over 10 percent of all jobs paid $50 or more per hour and the top two classes together saw an 8.6 percent increase in the number of jobs in 2019.  
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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