Monday, September 24, 2012

Walmart Jobs/Income vs Lake Oswego Rents: Avg Wages At 31% MFI; $573 Affordable Rent FAR Below HUD $1,003 Rental Payment Standard.

The new mini Walmart in Lake Oswego is scheduled to open one month from now on October 24th. News stories have indicated that there will be up to 90 jobs at the new store, which is similar in configuration to a previously opened store in West Linn. 

I thought it would be useful to see whether these jobs paid enough to make Lake Oswego and West Linn rents affordable.

In the Excel table HERE and embedded below you will find a table that uses Walmart hourly wage rates from more than 2,600 wage reports made on the Pay Scale website. 

The table is sorted so the job categories with the highest number of wage reports (likely represented the most frequently occurring jobs) are at the top of the table. The affordable rent level that I used is the $1,003 HUD 2 BR voucher payment standard that I believe will be used for Lake Oswego and West Linn zip codes as of October 1st. (This is actually $108 LESS than the $1,111 Lake Oswego median gross rent reported  for the 2008-2010 ACS).

  1. Out of 2,600+ wage reports, there were only 26 reports (1%) where monthly income was high enough so that the worker would NOT pay 30% or more of their income for Lake Oswego/West Linn rent. Those job were pharmacists, store managers, optical store managers, and maintenance technicians.
  2. The weighted average Walmart job from these reports paid $11.02 per hour, or $22,915 per year. That is equivalent to 31% of the Portland Metro MFI of $73,000.
  3. Using this weighted average pay, the average full time Walmart worker from these reports would pay 53% of their income for rent. (Note that not all Walmart workers are full time).
  4. There is no definitive way to know exact wages for Walmart jobs by occupation in Lake Oswego, but I think this data provides a useful, and sobering, frame of reference for retail wage rates in this economy. (Walmart says that it's average wage for ALL full time associates in Oregon for all occupations as of July 2012 was $13.04, $27,123 per year, or 37% of MFI. It's not clear if this is a weighted average by the number of jobs or not).
  5. In Clackamas county as of July 2012, retail (16,900) trailed only educational and health services (19,000) as the industry with the highest number of employees.
  6. Readers may recall that I have previously posted in May 2011 HERE an Excel workbook that allows side by side comparison of a wide variety of wages for different occupations vs rents for ALL Oregon metro areas.
Embedded Excel File:

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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