Thursday, June 2, 2016

Third Quarter 2015: Jobs and Wages Record Solid Growth

The median wage rose by $0.33 per hour to $17.55 per hour over the year from the third quarter of 2014 through the third quarter of 2015. The number of jobs in Oregon increased by more than 67,000 during the same period. The fastest growth overall was in jobs that paid $60 or more per hour. Growth was slower in the middle-wage jobs, and the number of jobs paying less than $10 per hour declined over the year.

Leisure and Hospitality

The leisure and hospitality industry provided about 12.5 percent of all jobs in Oregon in the third quarter of 2015. This industry includes restaurants, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. Many jobs in this industry pay low wages. The Oregon Legislature recently passed a law that will increase Oregon’s minimum wage in coming years. Some economists expect that the leisure and hospitality industry will be affected more than most industries by the new and higher minimum wages. One question economists consider is: will the higher minimum wage change the distribution of wages paid in some industries?

It is too soon to tell if the distribution of wages will change in the leisure and hospitality industry, but we can examine the existing distribution using recent data.

The leisure and hospitality industry has a larger percentage of its jobs in lower wage categories, as indicated by the red line being above the blue line at the left side of the graph. In the third quarter of 2015, nearly 41 percent of leisure and hospitality jobs paid less than $10.25 per hour. This compares with only about 16 percent of the jobs for all industries combined in the same wage category. In a few years, we should be able to tell if leisure and hospitality becomes more like other industries in its pay practices.

To learn more about jobs and wages in the third quarter 2015, read Regional Economist Erik Knoder's and Special Projects Analyst Barbara Peniston's full article "Third Quarter 2015: Jobs and Wages Record Solid Growth".

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