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Criterion 6 Indicator 45
Rationale
Average wage rates and injury rates in major employment categories within the forest sector.  
 
Wages are one indication of the level of demand in the marketplace for particular skills. Increasing real wages are an indication that the industry’s labor is becoming relatively scarce, highly skilled, or otherwise increasingly valued in the marketplace. Falling wages show a declining demand for the skills of the individuals in the industry. Injury rates are a measure of the relative safety of the jobs in the industry, and are one factor in job quality and worker satisfaction.

Can This Indicator Be Quantified
 
We used the Oregon covered employment and payroll statistics prepared by the Oregon Employment Department to track forest sector wages over time. The information is based on payroll information submitted to the unemployment compensation program. Wages in the forestry sector (SIC 08) are below the average wages for all industries in Oregon. Wages in the lumber and wood products sector (SIC 24) are slightly less than the average manufacturing wage, although wages in the paper sector (SIC 26) are substantially higher than the average.

Trends
For all forest sectors, average wages increased by 34 percent from 1987 to 1996. Forestry wages (SIC 08) were up 56 percent, lumber wages (SIC 24) increased by 34 percent, and paper wages (SIC 26) increased 32 percent. These increases are very comparable to normal measures of inflation during the same time period; the Consumer Price Index increased by 38 percent and the GDP Deflator increased 33 percent. Therefore, real wages have been relatively constant except in the forestry sector, where wages have increased.  
Figure 45-1. Average weekly wages in Oregon, for 1996
 
 
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Figure 45-2. Average wages in major employment categories in the forest sector, 1987-96
 
 
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Injury rates in the different forest sectors were calculated from accepted disabling workers compensation claims. Injury rates per thousand workers have declined steadily for the past ten years. Compensation claims in the forestry sector dropped from a high of 119 per thousand workers in 1988 to 42 claims per thousand workers in 1996. In the lumber sector claims per thousand have dropped from 89 per thousand in 1988 to 39 per thousand in 1996, and in the paper industry claims dropped from 40 per thousand in 1987 to 21 per thousand in 1996.
 
Figure 45-3. Workers compensation claims per 1,000 workers, in Oregon, 1987-96
 
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Data Source and Availability
Forest sector wages were obtained from the Oregon covered employment and payroll statistics prepared by the Oregon Employment Department. Injury rates were obtained from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, research and analysis section, report W46.IDROF. Finally, the Consumer Price Index and the GDP Deflator are available from the Office of Economic Analysis, Oregon Department of Administrative Services)http://www.oea.das.state.or.us/DAS/OEA/docs/economic/other-annual.xls. All data is available annually.

Reliability of Data
 
The unemployment program does not cover all employed people, and therefore the data may be slightly misleading if additional non-covered employees join the program. In particular, self-employed people and small agricultural businesses are not required to be part of the system, and some of these workers could be part of the forestry sector (SIC Code 08).

Scale
 
Statewide by industry and county.

Recommended Action for Data Collection
 
None.

Definitions
   
None.

Selected References
   
None.