Women in the NW Oregon Workforce

by Shawna Sykes

October 8, 2019

Women make up more than half (51%) of the workforce in Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties), with 2018 employment of 46,490 workers. They are employed in all industries, all age groups, and generally earn significantly less than men.

Industries of Employment

The industries employing the most women in NW Oregon are health care and social assistance (9,758), accommodation and food services (8,294), educational services (7,559), and retail trade (5,120).
The industries with the largest share of women in NW Oregon are health care and social assistance (75%), finance and insurance (72%), management of companies and enterprises (68%), educational services (61%), and other services (57%).

Average Wages by Industry

Women earn less money in every industry in NW Oregon. Average monthly earnings for women are highest in the utilities, wholesale trade, manufacturing, and finance and insurance sectors.
Statewide, average monthly earnings for women are highest in the management of companies and enterprises, utilities, finance and insurance, and information sectors.

The wage gap between Northwest Oregon men and women is smallest in the real estate and rental and leasing, accommodation and food services, wholesale trade, and public administration industries. Statewide, the wage gap is smallest between men and women in the accommodation and food services, administrative and support, waste management and remediation services, real estate and rental and leasing, and public administration sectors.

Wage Gap Has Lessened in 20 Years

Over the past 20 years, the wage gap between women and men in NW Oregon has lessened. In 1998, average monthly earnings for women were 59 percent of those for men. By 2017, women’s average earnings ($3,114) had grown to 71 percent of the average wage for men within the region ($4,403).
Statewide, the wage gap between women and men has also declined. Twenty years ago, average monthly earnings for women were 61 percent of male earnings. By 2017, average monthly earnings for women ($3,553) were 69 percent of the average for men ($5,103).

Employment by Age Group

Women outnumber men in nearly every age group in Northwest Oregon’s workforce. Only two age groups, those 25 to 34 years old and those age 65 to 99 years old had more men employed than women in NW Oregon according to 2018 Census data.


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