Minimum Wage Rises on July 1, Reaching $12.00 per Hour in the Rogue Valley

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by Guy Tauer
Regional Economist
Coos, Curry, Jackson, and Josephine counties

In the third quarter of 2019, the Oregon Employment Department estimates there were about 9,144 payroll jobs that paid minimum wage in the Rogue Valley, at the time $11.25 per hour. As of July 1, 2020, that minimum hourly rate in the Rogue Valley rises to $12.00 per hour, or an increase of about 6.6 percent. With overall U.S. consumer prices essentially flat over the year ending in May 2020, this increase of 6.6 percent also represents a real purchasing power increase of about the same amount. The increase the prior year was a 50-cent increase, or a gain of about 4.6 percent. Oregon’s minimum wage levels were set by Senate Bill 1532 in 2016. Rogue Valley minimum wage earners will continue to see 75 cent per hour annual increases each July 1st, until 2022 when the minimum wage will be $13.50. After that, the wage will be adjusted each year based on the U.S. consumer price index (CPI).

We do have estimates of minimum wage jobs by industry and county for Oregon. A few notes of caution. These are estimates, not exact counts. The methodology might overstate the number of jobs in the lower-wage ranges in metro-area counties, or understate the number of lower-wage jobs in non-metro counties. For all industries in the Rogue Valley, more than 40 percent of total records come from employment that exists in the county, but is initially reported from a headquarters company located elsewhere.

These estimates show about two-thirds of total Rogue Valley minimum wage jobs are in two industries – leisure and hospitality and retail trade, with about 4,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality and just less than 2,000 jobs in retail trade paying minimum wage in 2019. There were also about 750 jobs in health care and social assistance that paid $11.25 per hour last year. Minimum wage jobs make up about 20 percent of all leisure and hospitality jobs and about 9 percent of all retail trade jobs – the two industries where most minimum wage jobs are found. Nearly one out of ten jobs in private educational services and in other services paid minimum wage in the Rogue Valley.

As some of the industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are also industries with many minimum wage jobs, including retail trade and leisure and hospitality, we will look at the next year’s data to see how the pandemic may be impacting employment by wage level, including the number of jobs paying minimum wage.

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