Financial activities

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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The financial activities sector covers a variety of industries — banking, real estate, auto rental and others — so its subsectors vary widely in wages and employment trends. In 2004, for example, the U.S. average annual wage in the finance and insurance subsector was 88% higher than the average in real estate and leasing. So the sector’s highest wages were in the finance-dominated Northeast, while the real estate boom helped a Western state, Nevada, see the strongest job gains. In Oregon, opposing trends among subgroups have dampened both growth and decline of financial activities employment. Job growth in finance and insurance slowed in mid-2003, due in part to cooling refinance activity.

But stability in real estate and leasing moderated effects on the broad sector. In 2005, the opposite occurred as  finance employment  surged and real estate slowed. But jobs in real estate and leasing still account for a larger share of financial activities employment in Oregon than in the United States. This factor, among others, has kept the sector’s wages consistently below the national average.

— Emily Stuart, employment economist
Oregon Employment Department

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