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REPORT: County wages dropped nearly 14 percent in last decade


Over the last decade, inflation-adjusted wages in Columbia County dropped 13.8 percent, while salaries in nearby Oregon counties grew or remained mostly static.

A report released June 1 by the Oregon Employment Department and the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows between 2000 and 2011, the average wages for both full- and part-time jobs in Columbia County rose by 13 percent. But county wages actually decreased by 13.8 percent during that time when inflation is taken into account.

In neighboring Clatsop County, workers on a whole have fared better when it comes to earnings. The inflation adjusted wages for Clatsop workers rose 0.4 percent from 2000 to 2011.

Personal income for Columbia County residents also fell between 2000 and 2010, the last year data was available. In that decade, per capita income dropped slightly by 1.8 percent when adjusted for inflation.

In other job news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. added 69,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in May, a meager uptick based on predictions. Following 2012's average increase of 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter, the June 1 announcement was met with a lukewarm reception. The national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.

Columbia County's seasonally adjusted unemployment was 9.4 percent in April, less than the 10.4 percent who were not working in April 2011. The statewide unemployment rate remains steady around 8.5 percent.