Despite a minimum wage adjusted for inflation each year since 2004, Oregon experienced the smallest percentage gain in private sector pay between 2001 and 2009 when compared to neighboring states — 22.1% versus Nevada’s 27.7%. During the same period, the seasonally adjusted U.S. Consumer Price Index grew 21.1%, so Oregon wages barely beat inflation. In 2009, though, average private sector pay fell 1.6% in Nevada and 0.5% nationwide, while Oregon wages remained flat. Still, Oregon has the lowest average pay of all its neighbors except Idaho. In 2009, the average non-government Oregon employee earned 21.1% and 11.4% less respectively than counterparts in California and the U.S. overall. Meanwhile, employee benefit costs, especially health premiums, are eating up more of the compensation pie: Benefits accounted for 29% of total compensation in the first quarter of 2004. By the first quarter of 2010 they grew to 30.4%.