Wasco County’s 2021 Payroll Grew by Nearly 12% to $570 Million

by Dallas Fridley

August 26, 2022

Wasco County’s total all ownerships payroll grew by $59.1 million in 2021 to total $570.1 million, an increase of 11.6%. Wasco’s payroll growth ranked 21st among Oregon’s 36 counties in 2021. Government payroll rose by $7.0 million to reach $112.2 million (+6.6%). Private industry payrolls rose to $457.8 million, an increase of $52.1 million (+12.8%). Oregon’s 2021 payroll rose by 9.4% or $10.4 billion to reach $120.4 billion.
Employment growth lagged payroll growth by a significant margin in 2021, rising 1.2% or 131 jobs to average 11,313. Wasco County remained about 454 jobs (-3.9%) below its 2019 employment peak (11,767 jobs) despite its 2021 rebound. Oregon’s 2021 employment rose by about 44,300 jobs or 2.4% to 1,880,900. Wasco County’s job growth ranked 31st in 2021 with Crook County’s 7.5% increase ranking first; 33 of 36 Oregon counties added jobs in 2021.

Oregon’s average wage reached $64,018 in 2021, exceeding Wasco County’s $50,381 by about $13,600 or 21%. Wasco’s average wage ranked 13th highest in Oregon, rising from 15th highest in 2020. Wasco County’s average wage ranked just behind Gilliam in 12th ($51,359) and just ahead of Yamhill ($49,536). The annual wage gap exceeded $10,000 for 27 of Oregon’s 36 counties in 2021. Only two counties, Multnomah ($72,532) and Washington ($86,181), exceeded Oregon’s 2021 average wage. Multnomah County boasted Oregon’s largest payroll in 2021, with $34.9 billion or 29% of Oregon’s total payroll. Washington County’s 2021 payroll, at $25.2 billion ranked second (Wasco 20th). Together the two metro counties held 49.9% of Oregon’s $120.4 billion payroll while hosting 41.1% of its jobs. Excluding Multnomah and Washington, average pay for Oregon’s remaining 34 counties falls to $54,460, a drop of about $9,600 or 15%.

Wasco County’s private industry payroll rose by $52.1 million in 2021 to total $457.8 million, an increase of 12.8%. Private industry employment rose to 9,505, an increase of 102 jobs or 1.1%. Private industry remained 399 jobs or 4.0% below its 2019 peak. From 2019 to 2021 Wasco County’s private industry payroll rose by 19.6% or $74.9 million.

Information led Wasco County in 2021 with a payroll gain of $33.9 million or 74.2%, rising to $79.6 million. Information produced 65% of Wasco County’s $52.1 private industry payroll gain. Employment in the industry grew by 69 jobs (+29.6%) to average 302 and annual wages reached $263,631.

Education and health services increased its 2021 payroll by $4.6 million or 3.9%. Employment fell despite the industry’s payroll gain, dropping to 2,340, a loss of 43 jobs or 1.8%. Education and health services maintained its rank as Wasco County’s largest private industry in 2021, based on both employment and payroll. The average wage in education and health services reached $51,785, an increase of 5.8% or $2,854.

Payrolls in professional and business services rose by 13.9% in 2021 to reach $30.9 million. Employment increased by 47 jobs or 9.8% to total 525 and the industry’s average pay climbed to $58,828.

Leisure and hospitality increased its payroll by $3.7 million or 15.7% in 2021, rising to $27.5 million. Employment rose to 1,139 in 2021, an increase of 36 jobs or 3.3%. Leisure and hospitality’s annual wage rose by $2,595 to average $24,182, about $26,200 below Wasco County’s average pay. Leisure and hospitality’s 2021 payroll ranked just below manufacturing ($28.3 million). The industry remained 195 jobs or 14.6% below its 2019 pre-pandemic peak.

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities enjoyed a payroll increase of 20% in 2021, rising by $2.7 million to $16.5 million. The industry paid an average $61,414 in 2021, an increase of $3,300 or 5.7% over 2020. Employment in transportation, warehousing, and utilities rose by 13.6% or 32 jobs in 2021 to average 268.

Retail trade produced a payroll gain of 4.6% in 2021, rising by $2.5 million to total $56.7 million. Retail trade lost a few jobs in 2021, falling by five or 0.3% to average 1,636. Wages in retail trade averaged $34,650 in 2021, trailing Wasco County’s all industries average by about $15,700.

Construction enjoyed a payroll increase of $1.6 million or 8.8%, rising to $19.3 million in 2021. Employment in construction rose by 5.6% or 19 jobs to average 357. Construction’s average wage increased by $1,606 or 3.1% to $54,139. Construction wages exceeded Wasco County’s all ownerships average by $3,750.

Other services increased its payrolls by 11.7% or $1.2 million in 2021 to reach $11 million. Employment in other services rose by 25 jobs or 7.7% to 351. Average pay in other services rose by 3.8% in 2021 to reach $31,346, lagging Wasco County’s average by about $19,000.

Natural resources and mining cut employment and payroll in 2021. Employment fell by 50 jobs or 3% in 2021 to average 1,611, while payrolls dropped to $45 million, a loss of $2.7 million. Average pay also experienced a loss in 2021, falling by $756 or 2.6% to average $27,907.

Government produced a 2021 payroll increase of $7 million or 6.6%. Employment rose by 29 jobs or 1.6% to average 1,808 and its average wage reached $62,084, an increase of 4.9%. Despite the 2021 employment increase, government remained 55 jobs or 3.0% below its 2019 average. State government inched up by three jobs to average 244 in 2021 and its payrolls rose by 8.8% to $16.5 million. State government pay averaged $67,488, about $17,100 above Wasco County’s average. Federal government payrolls rose by $1.2 million or 4.6% to total $26.4 million, while employment dropped to 272, a loss of 10 jobs. Federal government wages exceeded Wasco County’s all industries average by $46,591, paying an average $96,980. Local government payrolls rose by $4.5 million to total $69.4 million in 2021, up 6.9%. Local government employment rose by 34 jobs to average 1,291, while its pay reached $53,759, an increase of $2,106 or 4.1%.


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