Sherman County’s 2019 Private Industry Payroll Full of Surprises

by Dallas Fridley

October 12, 2020

Sherman County’s total all-industries payroll rose by 11 percent or $4.4 million in 2019 to total $44.3 million. All-industries employment increased by 67 jobs or 8 percent to total 923. Sherman County’s 2019 pay averaged $48,021, an increase of $1,324 or 3 percent. Sherman County’s $44.3 million payroll ranked 35th out of 36 Oregon counties, trailing Gilliam (also $44.3 million) but leading Wheeler ($9.8 million); likewise Sherman County’s 923 jobs ranked 35th.
Oregon’s all-industries average wage reached $55,019 in 2019, exceeding Sherman County’s $48,021 by $6,998 or 13 percent. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Sherman’s average wage ranked in seventh position, just behind Marion ($48,337) and just ahead of Deschutes ($47,595). 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 difference of about $8,100 or 15 percent.

Sherman County’s 2019 private industry payroll totaled $25.9 million, rising by $4.2 million or 19 percent! Sherman County’s private industry employment rose by 67 jobs or 13 percent in 2019 to average 602. Private industry growth included 16 jobs that were credited to Sherman County via code changes.

Payroll and employment were not reported for manufacturing and its two business units due to confidentiality limitations. Likewise, information (1 unit) and financial activities (2 units) were not disclosed. Manufacturing did gain 36 jobs in 2019 through code changes.

Available or published industries in 2019, with rising payrolls, included: construction; agriculture, forestry and fishing; professional and business services; and other services. On the losing end, there were five private industries with falling payrolls: health care and social assistance; wholesale trade; leisure and hospitality; retail trade; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

Construction led payroll growth for Sherman County’s published industries, with an increase of $1.5 million (+30%), climbing to $6.4 million. Construction employment rose by 16 jobs (+25%) to average 80. Annual pay averaged $80,245, an increase of 2 percent compared with 2018. Construction pay exceeded Sherman County’s all industries average by more than $32,000 or 67 percent. A code change moved 15 jobs into construction in 2019.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting reported a payroll gain of nearly $0.4 million or 39 percent in 2019, rising to $1.4 million. Employment grew by eight jobs or 36 percent to average 30 in 2019. The average wage in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting rose by 2 percent to $45,266, leaving a gap of 6 percent compared with Sherman County’s average wage ($48,021).

Health care and social assistance cut its payrolls by $0.5 million or 58 percent in 2019, dropping under $0.4 million. Employment in health care and social assistance fell by 16 jobs, a loss of 44 percent, to average 20. Note that a code change weighing on health care and social assistance moved 36 jobs out of the industry in 2019. The average wage in health care and social assistance fell 25 percent to $17,660 in 2019, a loss of $5,758.

Leisure and hospitality cut its payrolls in 2019, falling by $0.1 million or 4 percent to total $2.7 million. Wages in leisure and hospitality averaged $25,155 in 2019, about $22,900 or 48 percent below Sherman County’s all-industries average. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 14 jobs or 11 percent in 2019 to average 108.

Government payrolls rose by about $0.2 million or 1 percent in 2019 to reach $18.4 million. Government managed a gain of one job in 2019 inching up to 322.

State government payroll rose by about $0.2 million to reach $2.1 million (+11%), while its employment reached 44 jobs (+2). State government pay averaged $48,544, about $500 above Sherman County’s all-industries average.

Local government produced a payroll gain of $0.4 million, rising to $5.0 million, and its employment increased by six to average 154. Local government wages rose to $32,596 (+5%) in 2019 but lagged Sherman County’s all industries average by about $15,400 or 32 percent.

Federal government offset state and local government ownerships with a payroll loss of $0.5 million, dropping its total to $11.3 million. Federal government represented 61 percent of government payrolls in 2019 and 25 percent of Sherman County’s all industries payroll. Federal government cut seven jobs in 2019, falling to 123, while its pay averaged $91,559, ranking as Sherman County’s highest.

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