Umatilla County’s 2019 Payroll Rises with Gains in Information and Health Services

by Dallas Fridley

September 22, 2020

Umatilla County’s total all-industries payroll grew by $80.5 million in 2019 to total $1.3 billion, a robust increase of 7 percent. All industries-employment rose by 3 percent or 811 jobs to total 31,532. Wages in Umatilla County averaged $41,574 in 2019, an increase of $1,524 or 4 percent over 2018.
Oregon’s all-industries average wage reached $55,019 in 2019, $13,445 higher than Umatilla County’s. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Umatilla’s average wage ranked near the middle of the pack, in 16th position, just behind Douglas ($41,851) and just ahead of Wasco ($41,427). 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 drop of about $8,100 or 15 percent.

Umatilla County’s private industry payroll rose by $60.4 million in 2019 to total $947.5 million, an increase of 7 percent. Private industry employment rose to 24,479 in 2019, rising by 681 jobs or 3 percent. Government experienced a robust payroll increase of $20.2 million or 6 percent. Government employment rose by 129 jobs or 4 percent and its average wage reached $51,527, an increase of 4 percent.

Information led Umatilla County in 2019 with a payroll gain of $27 million or a phenomenal 373 percent! Digging into the details, the industry gained 234 jobs in 2019 – but a substantial portion of that gain was attributed to code changes (200 jobs). For example, a code change can result from a multi-unit firm breaking out its unit level employment by county or even when an industry classification is updated. Payrolls in information totaled $34.3 million in 2019 while its pay averaged $83,783, a one-year increase of $42,343 or 102 percent. Information’s average pay surpassed Umatilla County’s all-industries average wage by $42,209 or 102 percent.

Education and health services produced a payroll gain of 13 percent in 2019, rising by $19 million to total $166.7 million. Employment in education and health services rose by 5 percent or 165 jobs to average 3,787. Education and health services paid an average wage of $44,031 in 2019, a one-year increase of 8 percent, to exceed Umatilla County’s all-industries average by about $2,500 or 6 percent.

Natural resources and mining performed well in 2019, with payrolls up 10 percent or $10.6 million to total $122 million. Employment also rose sharply, climbing by 349 jobs (+10%) to average 3,742. Natural resources and mining paid an average $32,602 in 2019, a loss of $231 or 1 percent compared with 2018. The industry lagged Umatilla County’s 2019 all-industries average wage by about 22 percent or $8,972.

Professional and business services faced a serious setback in 2019, cutting its payrolls by $4.5 million or 8 percent, dropping its total to $50.6 million. The employment loss in professional and business services looked just as grim, with a loss of 14 percent or 201 jobs cutting its average to 1,202. Professional and business services performed like a rollercoaster for the better part of a decade, reaching a peak of 2,456 jobs in 2009 when decommissioning efforts were underway at the Umatilla Depot. Professional and business services averaged more than 2,300 jobs in 2012, when its payrolls peaked at $126.2 million. But employment declined rapidly between 2013 and 2015, falling by 975 jobs or 42 percent to average 1,352 in 2015. Likewise, professional and business services cut its payrolls by $77.6 million from 2013 to 2015, a drop of 61 percent to $48.6 million.

Leisure and hospitality produced a payroll gain of 6 percent or $2.6 million in 2019 to total $46.8 million. Employment averaged 2,628 in 2019, a one-year increase of about 2 percent or 50 jobs. Leisure and hospitality paid an average $17,819 in 2019, an increase of $653 or 4 percent over 2018, while lagging Umatilla County’s all-industries average by about 57 percent or $23,755.

Government payrolls rose by $20.2 million or 6 percent in 2019. On the employment side, government rose by 129 jobs or 2 percent to total 7,053. Federal government essentially held its own in 2019 with 488 jobs, while its payroll fell by 1 percent or $0.3 million to total $36.5 million. The average federal government wage fell 2 percent in 2019 to $74,882. State government employment rose by 62 jobs or 4 percent in 2019 to average 1,453. State government payrolls impressed, rising by 12 percent or $10.9 million, increasing its total to $100.9 million. The average state government wage rose by 7 percent in 2019 to reach $69,451, about 67 percent higher than Umatilla County’s all-industries average. Within local government ownerships, Indian tribal government produced a payroll gain of $9.4 million to total $70.4 million with 1,716 jobs. Wages in Indian tribal government averaged $41,011, just 1 percent below Umatilla County’s all industries average.

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