Inflation and Wages in Northwest Oregon

by Erik Knoder

December 8, 2022

Oregon and the counties in Northwest Oregon saw increases in their annual average wages from 2020 to 2021. Overall, the average wage for the entire state increased by $4,097 (6.8%) over the year. The increases in the average wages in the five counties of Northwest Oregon ranged from 5.8% in Tillamook County to 8.7% in Lincoln County.

Increases in wages of this much are unusual. From 2010 through 2020 wages increased by an average of 3.7% per year for all of Oregon. The average annual increases in Northwest Oregon ranged from 3.0% in Benton County to 3.7% in Tillamook County over the same time.

The table below shows the 2021 annual average wage in Oregon and Northwest Oregon, and the change from 2020. The wages are for workers covered by unemployment insurance, which excludes self-employed workers and a few others such as real estate brokers who are paid by commission.

Table showing Northwest Oregon 2021 wage growth

Although wages are increasing in 2021, inflation is also increasing rapidly for many workers. The U.S. Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners rose by 5.3% in 2021. This means that the increase in real wages (what workers can buy) increased by only the annual change minus the rate of inflation.

In 2022 the situation for workers is not looking as rosy. Data are available for only part of the year, but for the first half of 2022 wages were on trend to increase 1.9% over the year statewide. Unfortunately, inflation seems to be on a trend to increase between 7.5% and 8.0% for 2022. It seems likely that real wages are falling in Oregon in 2022.

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