Wasco County 2017 Payroll and Employment Growth

by Dallas Fridley

September 12, 2018

Wasco County’s total all industries payroll grew by $10.4 million in 2017 to total $463.3 million, a muted increase of 2.3 percent. All industries employment rose by just 0.8 percent or 100 jobs to total 12,012. Wasco County’s 2017 annual pay averaged $38,572, an increase of $547 or 1.4 percent over 2016.

Oregon’s all industries average wage reached $51,117 in 2017, $12,545 higher than Wasco County’s. Among Oregon’s 36 counties, Wasco County’s average wage ranked 19th, just behind Umatilla County ($38,641) and just ahead of Tillamook County ($38,444). Only three counties, Clackamas ($51,724), Multnomah ($57,173), and Washington ($68,168) exceeded Oregon’s 2017 average wage. The annual wage gap for two-thirds of Oregon’s counties exceeded $10,000 in 2017.
Wasco County’s private industry payroll rose by $7.0 million in 2017 to total $360.4 million, a mild increase of 2 percent and well below Oregon’s 6 percent gain. Private industry employment rose to 9,895 jobs in 2017, a slight increase of 119 jobs or 1.2 percent.

Retail trade led Wasco County in 2017 with a payroll gain of $4.0 million or an impressive 8.7 percent, rising to $50.5 million. Retail trade paid an average $29,025 in 2017, nearly 25 percent below Wasco County’s all industries average wage. Employment in retail trade rose by 4.6 percent or 76 jobs in 2017 to average 1,739. Retail trade produced nearly two-thirds of Wasco County’s 2017 net private industry employment growth.

Wasco County’s information industry cut its payroll by $7.7 million in 2017, falling to $30.4 million. The information industry’s payroll loss occurred due to a breakout of employment from a single unit employer establishment to a multi-unit, with one or more units moving out of Wasco County and into another Oregon county. The information industry’s annual wage fell by $6,636 in 2017 to average $162,492, more than 300 percent higher than Wasco County’s all industries average pay. Information’s 2017 payroll exceeded totals for manufacturing ($30 million), construction ($17 million), professional and business services ($22.6 million), leisure and hospitality ($24.7 million) and federal government ($24.3 million) to name a few.

Education and health services boasted Wasco County’s largest private industry payroll in 2017, at $105.2 million. Payrolls in education and health services rose by $2.1 million or 2 percent in 2017. Employment rose by just 0.7 percent or 15 jobs in 2017 to average 2,238 while ranking as Wasco County’s top industry employer. Wages in education and health services, at $47,015, were $8,443 above Wasco County’s all industries average.

Manufacturing experienced exceptional payroll growth, rising by $2.7 million or about 10 percent to total $30.0 million in 2017. Employment in manufacturing actually fell by 3.6 percent or 27 jobs to average 722. Manufacturing paid an average $41,581 in 2017, more than $3,000 or 7.8 percent above Wasco County’s all industries average.

Construction increased its payroll total by an impressive 20.5 percent or $2.9 million in 2017 to total $17.0 million. Construction averaged 351 jobs in 2017, an increase of 12.9 percent or 40 jobs over its 2016 average. Construction paid an average $48,312 in 2017, which was 25.3 percent or $9,740 above Wasco County’s all industries average pay.

Leisure and hospitality produced a notable payroll gain of 6.9 percent in 2017, rising to $24.7 million. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 20 jobs or 1.5 percent in 2017 to average 1,358. Leisure and hospitality paid an average $18,203 in 2017, more than $20,000 below Wasco County’s all industries average.

Government payrolls rose by 3.3 percent to total nearly $103 million in 2017. Government employment actually fell by 19 jobs or 0.9 percent in 2017 to average 2,117 jobs. Local government produced a $2.0 million payroll gain but lost jobs in 2017, falling by 17 (-1.1%) to average 1,478. Local government wages averaged $42,413 in 2017, rising by $1,834 or 4.5 percent. State government essentially held its own in 2017, averaging 350 jobs, while its payrolls rose to $15.9 million (+3.6%). State government pay averaged $45,532 in 2017, an increase of 3.3 percent. Federal government cut three jobs to average 289 in 2017, while its payrolls rose by $0.8 million to total $24.3 million. Federal government pay averaged $84,183 in 2017, exceeding Wasco County’s all industries average by $45,611.


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