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

Oregonís per capita GDP, adjusted for inflation, has been growing fairly consistentlyóand more quickly than both Washington and the U.S.-- over the past 15 years. If this trend continues, Oregon may even pass Washingtonís 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.ís GDP growth rates. Ensuring a strong Oregon economy in the future is crucial to continuing this remarkable pattern of growth.
Household income

Oregonís median household income, adjusted for inflation, has remained relatively steady over the past 15 years and has only recently exceeded the USís 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 Oregonís 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.


Oregonís unemployment rate has been consistently higher than both the U.S. and Washingtonís unemployment rates over the past decade. Helping businesses create new jobs is a crucial goal to decrease Oregonís 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 Oregonís 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 Oregonís GDP and its employment.

Export Employment

Oregonís employment is helped by its stronger-than-average export market. While Washington exports account for a larger percentage of jobs than in Oregonís 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

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

Remote Oregon Land in Spotlight as its Future is in Question

Recently, certain media reports have covered a relatively undiscovered, yet vast high desert wilderness known as the Owyhee Canyonlands that occupies the Oregon-Idaho-Nevada border.  This land lies at the center of a growing controversy pitting local communities against outside interests. 

At the heart of the controversy is the designation of a 2.5 million acre national monument.  What is a national monument one might ask?  Using the Antiquities Act, President Obama has the authority to unilaterally declare “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” on federal lands – also known as national monuments.  National monuments vary in size across the U.S.  For instance, the latest monument declared by the President, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, is a three-story house in D.C.  In contrast, if the Owyhee Canyonlands national monument is designated by the President it will be the largest in the country, covering more land than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. 

Interestingly, President Obama’s Presidency alone has set aside more land than any other U.S. President – nearly 265 million acres of land and water.  These monuments, like past monument designations, can serve multiple purposes, placing new restrictions on land.  In this case, it is believed that the designation would place new regulations on the use and ability to access the high desert federal lands.  However, like most public lands in eastern Oregon – including those under consideration for the monument – the Owyhee Canyonlands already enjoy multiple layers of federal government protection designed to preserve and enhance the areas unique features and values.  A national monument designation would duplicate current regulations and bring new restrictions to the area.  It is the possibility of new access restrictions and land use regulations that have area communities and family businesses concerned.

In fact, the communities near the proposed monument have demonstrated their resounding opposition to the 2.5 million acre designation.  In a March special election, 90% of Malheur County voters said they did not want the Owyhee Canyonlands turned into a national monument.  While the vote carries no legal weight, it sends a strong message to state and federal leaders, which could have some significance.

Congress has the ability to vote on monument designations.  However, unlike national park and wilderness area designations, it is not a legal requirement.  Without a vote of Congress, it limits the ability for Oregon’s elected officials to weigh in, discourages transparency, and fails to provide for any meaningful public process.  All of which, could determine the long-term success of communities, businesses and achieving the monument designation’s purpose.

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