Oregon Wage Records for 2016: Another Year of Job Growth

by Barbara Peniston

July 17, 2017

In 2016, all broad industries provided 3,051,415 jobs, a gain of 155,063 (5.4%) over the prior year. All but one broad industry experienced growth in number of jobs in 2016. Retail trade and leisure and hospitality enjoyed the largest absolute gains, of 60,724 and 18,213 jobs, respectively. Retail trade also posted the largest year-over-year percent increase, at 17.2 percent. Private educational services was the only industry that shed jobs – down 1,173, or 2.4 percent, from 2015. At the bottom of the stack of job growth industries, natural resources and mining and local government barely budged the needle, each adding only 0.1 percent more jobs in 2016.
The largest number of jobs (431,677 – 14.2% of the jobs pie) was again held by professional and business services in 2016. Retail trade ran a close second, capturing 413,748 (13.6% of all) jobs that year, regaining at last all the jobs that were lost in the recession.  By the end of 2016, six out of 11 private-sector industries had rebounded post-recession. Other services (+17.3%) and leisure and hospitality (+13.1%) have been the leaders in job gains. Some industries have yet to regain jobs that were lost in recession. Among them are construction (-16.3%), manufacturing (-11.9%), and financial activities (-11.8%).
The median hourly wage of jobs statewide rose from $15.74 to $16.27 per hour in 2016 – a year-over-year increase of 3.4 percent. In July 2016, the Oregon minimum wage rose from $9.25 per hour to $9.75 per hour (+5.4%), likely contributing significantly to the large increase in the statewide median hourly wage, and especially to the increases for industries with large numbers of minimum wage jobs. All individual broad industries saw their median wages increase; retail trade (+5.8%), leisure and hospitality (+4.7%), and professional and business services (+4.0%) posted the largest percent increases. Information continued to have the highest median hourly wage ($28.17), although over the year it rose by only 1.3 percent (and actually decreased by nearly a percent, after adjusting for inflation). Local government, state government, and the construction industry also continued to enjoy high median wages, despite posting median wage increases of 2.4 percent or less.
Twenty-two percent of all 2016 jobs paid at least $30.00 per hour and 39 percent paid at least $20.00 per hour.  Forty-five percent – nearly half – paid less than $15.00 per hour. All but the smallest hourly wage class posted job gains. The $10.00-$14.99 and the $15.00-$19.99 categories showed the highest year-over-year increase in jobs – 11.3 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively. Again, these increases are not surprising in light of the 2016 minimum wage increase and given the concentration of job gains in retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest ($60.00 or more) wage class also had a large gain in jobs (10.8%). Eight percent of all jobs paid $50 or more per hour; the top two classes together saw nearly a 10 percent increase in jobs in 2016.

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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