Oregon Economy
Oregon has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation. With important and growing industries in manufacturing, apparel, and green technologies, Oregon has a solid base in vital markets that will continue to enrich the economy moving forward.

Per capita GDP

Oregons per capita GDP, adjusted for inflation, has been growing fairly consistentlyand more quickly than both Washington and the U.S.-- over the past 15 years. If this trend continues, Oregon may even pass Washingtons per capita GDP in the future.
GDP Growth

Real GDP growth in Oregon has been quite volatile, but, in all but the worst of the 2009 recession, GDP growth has remained positive. It has also generally exceeded Washington and the U.S.s GDP growth rates. Ensuring a strong Oregon economy in the future is crucial to continuing this remarkable pattern of growth.
Household income

Oregons median household income, adjusted for inflation, has remained relatively steady over the past 15 years and has only recently exceeded the USs real median household income. However, Oregon still trails Washington in this statistic.
Oregon Employment
Oregon's unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country; one of Oregons biggest problems right now is that so many of its workers are out of work. However, overall unemployment has been slowly decreasing, and it is important to see where jobs are located in the economy and what industries have the highest potential for employment growth.


Oregons unemployment rate has been consistently higher than both the U.S. and Washingtons unemployment rates over the past decade. Helping businesses create new jobs is a crucial goal to decrease Oregons unemployment.
Top 5 Industries for Oregon Employment

Oregon has many different industries driving its vibrant economy. Many Oregon jobs are within the healthcare and retail industries, but manufacturing, government, and food and lodging are also crucial for keeping Oregonians employed. Beyond these top-5 industries, many Oregonians are also employed in the production and distribution of durable goods as well as with financial-related occupations.
Oregon employment by business size

More than half of Oregons workers are employed by companies with fewer than 100 employees, and over a quarter are employed by companies with fewer than 20 employees. As policymakers continue to adjust employment regulations, it is important to consider the many small businesses that employ the majority of Oregonians.
Oregon Exports
Exports have always been a crucial sector of the Oregon economy. Although recently major exports have shifted from logging and forestry to high tech manufacturing and related industries, exports still remain an important component of the Oregon economy and play an important role in both Oregons GDP and its employment.

Export Employment

Oregons employment is helped by its stronger-than-average export market. While Washington exports account for a larger percentage of jobs than in Oregons exports do, Oregon still has a larger portion of jobs associated with exports than California and the US as a whole.
Oregon Exports by Sector

Oregons export industry is particularly strong in computers and electronics manufacturing, and agriculture also plays an important role.
Key Sectors

Income Gains Spread to Lower Rungs of Wage Ladder

Recent economic reports show that median household incomes are beginning to increase at a meaningful pace, a trend with both obvious and subtle benefits for workers in Oregon and nationwide. 

Most of the increase appears to be coming from increased earnings, not investment income. Some of that is because of increased employment, but workers also are getting raises. Obviously, bigger paychecks put more money in workers’ hands and ripple through the economy by increasing purchasing power. 

Of particular significance in Oregon, household incomes here are increasing faster than the national average. Different reports offer slightly different numbers, but according to the American Community Survey, the Oregon median increased 6% in 2015 compared with 2014. Nationally, the increase was 3.8%. Oregon also had one of the biggest increases in per capita income in 2015, as we reported in August. You may view the article here

The subtle, but equally important, positive benefits from the income gains can be seen when you look at wage data from different income strata. Concern about income inequality has played a major role in political discussions in recent years. The market is beginning to work out some of the inequities. Since 2012, the strongest wage gains – in Oregon and nationally – have been at the bottom of the income ladder. Some might be tempted to attribute the gains to minimum-wage increases, but very few cities or states made significant changes in minimum wages before the 2015 income data was collected. Mandated changes are at most only a minor contributor to the rise in incomes. 

As economist Josh Lehner explained on the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis blog, higher-income households have more sources of income, including stocks and real estate. Since those assets recovered from the recession more rapidly than wages, those closer to the top of the income ladder saw their incomes increase sooner than those toward the bottom did. But after a steady climb from its bottom in 2009 until early 2015, stock indices have been relatively flat for the past year and a half while wages have been increasing. Click here to view the report. 

Sometimes it doesn’t take big government initiatives to spread the wealth. It just requires patience.



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