Sherman County’s 2020 Payroll Growth Ranked Third in Oregon

by Dallas Fridley

December 20, 2021

Sherman County’s total all ownerships payroll grew by $4.1 million in 2020 to total $48.4 million, an increase of 9%. Sherman’s 2020 payroll growth ranked third among Oregon’s 36 counties. Five counties, including Clatsop, Hood River, Lincoln, Linn, and Wheeler, suffered a payroll loss in 2020. Oregon’s payroll rose by 2.4% or $2.6 billion to $110.1 billion, while its remaining 31 counties managed at least some 2020 payroll growth.
One big caveat for 2020 was the Paycheck Protection Program, which distributed $5.7 million in loan assistance to eligible Sherman County businesses. A total of 86 loans were approved with 75 loans or about $4.7 million forgiven to date according to the SBA. To be eligible for forgiveness, at least 60% of the total borrowed or close to $3.4 million had to be spent on payroll costs. These payroll costs could be incurred in 2020 or 2021 or both years depending on the period covered by the loan. The window for forgiveness is open for 10 months following the last day of the covered loan period, with Sherman County’s total loan forgiveness likely to rise above $3.4 million.

On the employment side, 33 of 36 Oregon counties suffered 2020 job losses. Sherman County (+0.9%) joined Crook (+4.2%) and Gilliam (+1.3%) in avoiding a 2020 job loss. Total all ownerships (private and government) employment in Sherman County rose by eight jobs or about 1% in 2020, compared with Oregon’s 6% loss. Sherman County’s 2020 employment reached 931 jobs, setting a new peak.

Sherman County’s all ownerships pay averaged $52,006 in 2020, an increase of nearly $4,000 or 8% over 2019. Oregon’s all ownerships wage reached $59,925, about $7,900 higher than Sherman’s. Among Oregon counties, Sherman’s average wage ranked 10th highest, just behind Marion ($52,476) and just ahead of Lane ($49,511).

The annual wage gap for 26 of Oregon’s 36 counties exceeded $10,000 in 2020. Only three counties, Morrow ($60,567), Multnomah ($68,054), and Washington ($79,899) exceeded Oregon’s 2020 average wage. Multnomah County boasted Oregon’s largest payroll in 2020, with $32.5 billion or 29.5% of Oregon’s total payroll. Washington County’s 2020 payroll, at $22.8 billion, ranked second (Gilliam 34th). Together the two counties held just over half of Oregon’s $110.1 billion payroll while hosting nearly 42% of its jobs. Excluding Multnomah and Washington, average pay for Oregon’s remaining 34 counties falls to $50,985, a drop of about $8,940 or 15%.

Sherman County’s 2020 private industry payroll totaled $29.1 million, rising by 12.4% or $3.2 million. Sherman County’s private industry employment rose to 627 jobs in 2020, an increase of 25 or 4%. Confidentiality is an issue for a few industries in Sherman County, with breakouts for manufacturing (3 units), information (1 unit) and financial activities (2 units) suppressed due to confidentiality.

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities led private industry payroll growth in 2020 rising by $2.1 million or 45% to total $6.7 million. Employment also rose sharply, up 24 jobs or 22% to average 133. Annual wages reached $50,590, trailing Sherman County’s 2020 all ownerships average by about $1,400.

Retail trade produced a payroll gain of 59% in 2020, rising by $1.1 million to total $2.9 million. Employment rose by 36 jobs or 40% to average 125. Wages in retail trade averaged $23,387 in 2020, trailing the county’s all ownerships wage by $28,619.

Construction payrolls rose by $0.3 million (+5%) in 2020, reaching $6.8 million. Construction employment rose by three jobs (+4%) to average 83. Annual pay averaged $81,497, an increase of less than 2% compared with 2019. Construction pay exceeded Sherman County’s all ownerships average by about $29,500.

Leisure and hospitality cut its payrolls in 2020, falling by $0.8 million or 29% to total $1.9 million. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 30 jobs or 28% to average 78. Wages in leisure and hospitality fell to an average of $24,611, lagging Sherman County’s all ownerships pay by about $27,400.

Wholesale trade’s 2020 payroll fell to $1.4 million, a loss of about $0.2 million or 14%. Employment fell by six jobs to average 28 and annual wages rose to $51,008, trailing the count’s average by about $1,000.

Federal government led government ownerships with a payroll gain of $0.9 million, rising to $12.2 million. Federal government represented 63% of government payrolls in 2020; and 41% of its jobs. Federal government employment reached 125 jobs (+2), while its pay averaged $97,442, exceeding the county’s all ownerships wage by about $45,500.

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