Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six Percent of Oregon Businesses Pay 77 Percent of Private-Sector Wages

One way to measure the size of a business is by the number of jobs it has. A recent analysis by the Employment Department’s Research Division reveals, for example, that less than 1 percent of Oregon’s private-sector firms had 250 or more employees in 2012, but these firms accounted for about 36 percent of covered employment.

Another way of gauging the size of a business is by the amount of money it pays in wages. In 2012, Oregon’s roughly 127,000 private-sector firms had payrolls totaling nearly $60 billion. Of these, 81 percent paid less than $250,000 each in total wages to their workers, representing 9 percent of wages in the private sector. At the other end of the payroll spectrum, 6 percent of firms each paid $1 million or more in total wages, or 77 percent of 2012 private-sector wages. The remaining 13 percent of firms with annual payrolls between $250,000 and $999,999 also paid 13 percent of the total wages.

The average payroll for all 127,000 private firms in Oregon was $472,000 in 2012. Among the 102,823 firms with payrolls smaller than $250,000 this average was $54,000. The 7,659 firms with payrolls of $1 million or more paid an average of $6 million in total wages to their employees. Firms in the three middle size classes had payrolls averaging $351,000, $609,000, and $864,000, respectively.

Distributions of firms and wages by size of payroll show a similar pattern to the distributions of firms and employees by size of employment. The vast majority of firms are small in terms of both payroll and employment, but the biggest ones are very big.

For more information on employment and wages in Oregon visit Also if you have questions related to the data above, contact research analyst Phoebe Colman, guest author of today's post.

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