Friday, July 11, 2014

Has Oregon's Payroll Recovered Since the Great Recession?

As total employment in Oregon continues its path toward recovery, so does total covered payroll, at least in inflation-adjusted values. Based on data from unemployment insurance tax reports submitted quarterly by employers, total annual payroll in Oregon in 2013 was $75.6 billion. In real terms, this was $1.2 billion, or 1.6 percent, below the pre-recession peak in 2007 (see graph below). 

For average annual pay, both the inflation-adjusted and not-inflation-adjusted values are above pre-recession levels. In 2013, the average annual pay – total annual pay divided by the average of the 12 monthly employment levels – was $45,010. In inflation-adjusted terms, this was $558, or 1.3 percent, above the 2007 value.

One possible explanation for why average annual pay is above its pre-recession peak is that companies kept their more senior workers, laying off those with less seniority during the recession. For instance, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics program show that employment continued to increase for those 55 and over in Oregon during the recession, while it dropped for other age groups. A 2013 study from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development also noted that fewer workers 55 and over reported being laid off compared with younger workers.

Total annual payroll is still below its 2007 level because total employment has not yet fully recovered. Total employment in 2013 was still 2.8 percent below its 2007 level. This equates to 49,000 fewer jobs contributing to the payroll.

This article was written by Workforce Analyst Martin Kraal. Look for next week's post on payrolls at the county level across Oregon! 

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