Monday, February 5, 2007

Deschutes County Median Income Lower Than State Average

From the Bulletin article today: Wage gap persists in Central Oregon - Earnings difference between men and women tops $10K, comes evidence that Deschutes County residents make LESS than the statewide median.

Median earnings for a full-time, year-round working male in the county were $39,716 in 2005, according to the American Community Survey, part of the U.S. Census Bureau. For full-time, year-round working females, median earnings were $29,422.

Women comprise 46 percent of the county's work force.

Data for Crook and Jefferson counties was not available.

Statewide, males earned $40,994 in 2005 versus $31,427 for females. Women account for about 38 percent of Oregon's full-time year-round workers, according Jessica Nelson, economist with the Oregon Employment Department.

From the state Report on Poverty (pdf), we find that monthly wages here reinforce the "poverty with a view" reality that persists in Deschutes County:

Deschutes County’s unemployment dropped from 7.6 percent in 2003 to
5.5 percent in 2005. The county also gained 10,522 employment positions
between 2001 and 2005—growing 20.0 percent. All three of the major industries
in Deschutes County gained positions, totaling 4,474 positions among them.

The 2005 average wage of $2,624, however, proved inadequate for single parents.
Deschutes County’s 2005 average wage could not fund the basic family budget
for a single adult and one child or more. The second largest industry in Deschutes
County, leisure and hospitality, paid an average wage nearly half of the county
average—$1,342 a month.

Families earning poverty level wages could afford no more than 40.2 percent of
basic family expenses in Deschutes County. In 1999, 2,046 families lived below
the poverty level, although 64.5 percent of those families had a household member
who worked

Unfortunately, our local government has worked feverishly to build the rock-bottom wage paying leisure sector of our economy, and ignore the far higher paying industrial or data-processing sectors. They also drag their feet on expanding the UGB which just happens to help a small number of RE asset rich scions of wealth.

This is why the bubble in Bend RE must inevitably bust. Almost everything possible is being done to promote low wage industries, while conversely everything possible is being done to induce artificial land shortages. So instead of building on the practically infinite land available within 30 miles of Bend, we end up with mega-density housing so builders can somehow bring prices within some semblance of attainability. Builders are basically incentive-ized to do this by the City.

I don't know how else this can play out: The City spends tremendous amounts to fill Bachelor ski lifts, (that are already at 100+% capacity) they leave these same low-paying employers begging for employees, leaving them to hire foreigners in some cases. We're feeding demand, yet starving supply.

We've got lower than average wages, and far higher than average prices. At some point the masses will rebel. Then the middle class will. Who is going to run the show? We're doing everything possible to ensure that 90+% of all Bendites CAN'T MAKE IT here.

92 percent of residential real estate listings are priced above what is considered affordable for households earning 120 percent of the area's median income.

Somethings gotta give. Our city is pursuing a antique paradigm of demand stimulation, when we are in fact supply starved. There aren't enough job seekers because prices are so insanely high compared to well below average wages. It seems this can only lead to economic contraction. Bend needs to concentrate on job creation, not DEMAND STIMULATION. Bachelor will SURVIVE. Our current policies are actually going to shrink this place economically. Wealth is being destroyed because the City is living in 1975. We are engineering our own Economic Bust... AGAIN. In attempts to entrench The Wealthy, we are ensuring the destruction of wealth at all levels.

Realize that when 92% of the locals can't make it, you are encouraging population flight. Who's going to live in all the homes we've built? They'll go up for sale, but no one can buy, no one makes enough. Until we start encouraging employers to move to Bend, we ensure our own economic destruction. There MUST be a tenable MIDDLE CLASS.


Douglas said...

You haven't been to Atlanta have you? Can you say sprawl? Oregon state land use law sets the regulations for growing the UGB. The wheels are in motion. I don't recall seeing you at the monthly RLS meetings. The market will set what homes can and will sell for and yes bubbles are part of the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Rent is cheap, the middle class has it easy.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

The market will set what homes can and will sell for...

Hey, I'm all for the free market. I'm even for the rich getting richer, cuz it almost always accompanies the poor getting richer (all you liberal wonks merely need look at Cuba or Haiti to see that discouraging wealth creation hurts everyone). Americas poor are some of the richest poor on Earth.

What irks me is paying taxes for the actual destruction of wealth. When our Cities policies actually means EVERYONE is poorer, rich and poor alike. Pushing Bachelor from 120% to 130% of capacity actually hurts Bachelor. People get pissed & don't go back due to long lines.

My point is our tax money is being squandered. Look at the beater buses we have. Look at the millions we're paying to rebuild golf courses... and on and on...

Anonymous said...

Ski midweek and you practically have the place to yourself. The lack of overnight lodging at the mountain keeps real crowds down. A good thing.

The city should not have used eminent domain to take over a private water system.

Affordable housing means something different to everyone. To the guy with CA real-estate it means just about every property in Bend. To the guy renting a room it is tough to own. Time to look towards Redmond to get a start.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry... prices will soon really fall.
To the guy with CA real estate and a Prop. 13 property tax exemption, $5000 a year in property tax looks QUITE expensive. My retired father, with a home perhaps valued at $1.2 MM or so (in the Bay Area) would love to move. But his taxes are $1200 a year.

Anonymous said...

Yes todays Bulletin story shows the city under pressure rushed into a mass transit system that has now come back to bite them. Hard to have sympathy. They should have taken another year to do it right.