Labor Day is a particularly appropriate date to assess the state of Oregon workers. Such a review, unfortunately, reveals the long-term struggles of middle- and low-income Oregonians.
Over the past three decades, taking inflation into account, Oregonians in the middle and bottom of the income scale not only have made no headway, but their income has actually fallen. Specifically, from 1980 to 2010, the average income of Oregonians in the middle fifth of the income scale declined 3 percent. The decline for the poorest fifth of Oregonians over the same time period was 4 percent.
By contrast, those at the top of the income scale have done well. On average, Oregonians comprising the wealthiest fifth have seen their income rise by 38 percent over the three-decade period. And the average income of the richest 1 percent more than doubled — increasing by 118 percent — from 1980 to 2010.