Size of Firm Report 2018 – Malheur County

by Christopher Rich

November 20, 2018

Roughly 90 percent of Malheur County’s privately owned firms employed fewer than 20 workers in the first quarter of 2018. Altogether, these small firms accounted for 39 percent of the county’s private-sector workforce and one-third of private-sector wages. The majority of firms employed from one to four workers and the second largest group of firms employed from five to nine workers. The third largest group of firms had zero employees.

Firms with zero employees accounted for a sizeable portion of private-sector firms; roughly one out of every seven and a half firms. For this report, a firm was designated a size class based on their March 2018 employment level. The majority of firms in Malheur County with zero employees in March had from one to four employees in one or more months during 2017. Some of these firms had from one to four employees in January or February 2018, but none in March. Many firms in this size class are in industries that have a seasonal trend. They likely hire a small number of workers during peak season, or for special projects, and let them go when demand has softened. It’s also important to note that a small number of firms in Malheur County have significantly fewer employees in January, February, and March than they do in June, July, and August.
The other side of the story is that nearly 10 percent of Malheur County’s privately owned firms employed 20 or more workers. These 80 firms accounted for 62 percent of Malheur’s private-sector workforce and two-thirds of private-sector wages. The lion’s share of this came from the 23 firms that employed from 50 to 99 workers or from 100 to 249 workers. These 23 large firms accounted for 41 percent of private employment and half of all private-sector wages in the first quarter of 2018. Note that data pertaining to the 250 or more size class in Malheur County cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality, so the percentages given are based on the firms employing up to 249 workers.  However, if data for firms with 250 or more employees were included in the analysis, then firms employing 50 or more workers would account for a much larger portion of Malheur’s private-sector employment and wages.

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