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Deschutes County’s average wage was 6 percent below US average in 2021, federal agency reports

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVZ) -- Workers in the Bend-Redmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (defined as all of Deschutes County) had an average (mean) hourly wage of $26.25 in May 2021, about 6 percent below the nationwide average of $28.01, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the Bend-Redmond metro area were lower than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including management, legal, and computer and mathematical.

Seven groups had significantly higher wages than their respective national averages, including healthcare practitioners and technical, protective service, and healthcare support.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Bend-area employment was more highly concentrated in nine of the 22 occupational groups, including food preparation and serving related, construction and extraction, and sales and related. Ten groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including transportation and material moving, educational instruction and library, and computer and mathematical.

One occupational group—food preparation and serving related—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Bend had 8,770 jobs in food preparation and serving related, accounting for 10.5 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 8.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.59, significantly above the national wage of $14.16.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the food preparation and serving related group included fast food and counter workers (2,810), waiters and waitresses (1,490), and restaurant cooks (1,220). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were chefs and head cooks and first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers, with mean hourly wages of $25.08 and $19.33, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop ($13.83) and dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers ($14.04). (Detailed data for the food preparation and serving related occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to

Location quotients allow us to explore the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average. (See table 1.) For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area than it does nationally.

In the Bend area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in some of the occupations within the food preparation and serving related group. For instance, restaurant cooks were employed at 1.7 times the national rate in Bend, and dishwashers, at 1.7 times the U.S. average. First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers had a location quotient of 1.2 in Bend, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Oregon Employment Department.

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