CLATSOP COUNTY — In 2019, a full-time minimum wage earner in Clatsop County working a 40-hour week earned $23,400 annually before taxes, a number that will rise to $24,960 beginning July 1, 2020, when minimum wage increases from $11.25 to $12.00, a 7% increase.
The standard minimum wage in Oregon has increased in 50-cent increments each summer annually since 2016, from $9.75 to the eventual $12 anticipated this summer, as part of Senate Bill 1532. The rate will ramp up to 75-cent increments starting in 2020 until 2022, when it reaches $13.50.
Small minimum-wage workforce
Clatsop County has one of the smallest pools of minimum-wage workers in Oregon, only about 5% of the workforce.
“Our wage data indicated that only 5.7% of Clatsop County’s jobs paid minimum wage,” said Shawna Sykes, Workforce Analyst/Economist for the Oregon Employment Department Research Division.
“Because the labor market has been pretty tight, many employers are offering higher than minimum wage to attract applicants, even for entry-level positions. They are also offering sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, referral bonuses and other benefits and incentives to entice workers.”
Despite the incentives, employment growth in the county slowed last year.
“Employment growth slowed in 2019,” said Erik Knoder, regional economist for the Oregon Employment Department.
“The last news release noted that the county added 40 payroll jobs over the year. There was no significant change in the low unemployment rate.”
A raise in the minimum wage this summer is likely to boost pay for others earning a similar salary.
“One direct impact of increasing the minimum wage has been to increase wages of people working lower-wage jobs,” Knoder said.
The share of jobs paying minimum wage in Oregon ranges from a low of 3.5 percent in Morrow County (279 jobs) to a high of 12.4 percent in Harney County (331 jobs), according figures from the Oregon Employment Department.
Seventeen counties had a share of minimum-wage jobs at or below the statewide share of 7.3 percent. The smallest shares were in Morrow County (3.5%), Hood River County (4.1%), Deschutes and Clatsop counties (5.7%).
Eastern Oregon had a greater share of minimum-wage jobs than other areas of the state. The highest shares of minimum wage jobs were found in Harney (12.4%), Malheur (12.1%), Wheeler (11.8%), and Sherman (10.0%).