Friday, January 10, 2014

U.S. Employment and Oregon's Minimum Wage Jobs

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the unemployment rate and payroll job estimates for December. The unemployment rate declined to 6.7 percent last month. Job growth was relatively slim in December, with employers adding 74,000 to their payrolls. That's less than half of the average monthly gain of 183,000 jobs for 2013.
We recently posted about Oregon's minimum wage increase to $9.10 per hour on January 1, 2014. We've received several follow-up inquiries, including a request to know the number of minimum wage jobs over the years.

The passage of Measure 25 in 2002 made Oregon one of the 10 states that adjusts the minimum wage each year based on inflation. We were able to compile data on the number of minimum wage jobs in Oregon from 2000 to 2013. The state's minimum wage held steady at $6.50 per hour during 2000, 2001, and 2002. After a one-time increase to $6.90 per hour in 2003, the first inflation-linked rise in the minimum wage occurred in 2004. The minimum wage increased each year -- with the exception of 2010 because inflation declined -- and reached $8.95 per hour as of January 1, 2013.

Despite the increases, Oregon's minimum wage jobs remained a relatively stable portion -- between 5 percent and 6 percent -- of the state's total jobs from 2004 to 2013. The largest number of minimum wage jobs was 115,600 in 2007.

You can find more information about the BLS December jobs report in their full news release, and learn more about Oregon's minimum wage in a summary written by Nick Beleiciks, our state employment economist.

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