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Oregon's Economy: Wages

The Flora Cemetery in Wallowa County. (Photo courtesy Jim and Debbie Lynn Keefer)

The Flora Cemetery in Wallowa County. (Photo courtesy Jim and Debbie Lynn Keefer)

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Oregon has the second highest minimum wage rate in the nation. In 2014, the minimum wage was $9.10 per hour. Oregon’s minimum wage is adjusted annually by the increase in the U.S. Consumer Price Index. Washington has the highest minimum wage rate of any state at $9.32 per hour. California’s minimum wage is $8.00 per hour and Nevada’s minimum wage is $8.25 per hour. Idaho’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is equal to the federal minimum wage rate.


Although Oregon has a high minimum wage, average wage earnings are below the national level. Workers at Oregon businesses earned an average of $735 in weekly wages in 2011, which is below the national average earnings of $802 per week.


Oregon workers earned an annual average of $43,091 in 2011, but the wages workers earn vary widely by industry. The average annual earnings in the information industry were $66,163, the most of any broad sector, followed by manufacturing ($60,265) and financial activities ($53,329). On the low earnings end were jobs in leisure and hospitality, where workers averaged $17,236 per year.


Of course, the average wage for an industry does not reveal how many low- or high-wage jobs are in an industry. Roughly 20 percent of Oregon jobs have an average wage of less than $10 per hour. Another 25 percent are between $10 and $15 per hour. This suggests that more than half of all jobs pay at least $15 per hour.

 

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