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

CTE in Oregon

Oregon has become a top industrial state in the country, with manufacturing accounting for almost a third of its state GDP. But Oregon manufacturers are struggling to find workers with the qualifications they need to take on a bevy of high-skill jobs. Many Oregon workers do not have the training and applied learning experiences that employers look for and value.

Jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), which require workers trained through strong CTE (Career and Technical Education) curriculum are growing two to three times faster than other Oregon jobs. And, STEM/CTE jobs are high-wage, helping to enrich the economy and Oregonís prosperity. But right now, there simply arenít enough Oregon workers with the skills that are needed to fill those jobs.

CTE programs are working to change that.

At only 68%, Oregon has one of the lowest 4-year high school graduation rates in the country. But students in the few remaining CTE programs across Oregon graduate at a significantly higher rate of 86%. And, these students from CTE programs often move on to further career education at a variety of institutions like technical schools, community colleges, and 4-year colleges and universities.

Because career and technical education is an interactive experience, students learn by doing. CTE pilot programs across the state have started a variety of projects, from IT professional training, to developing and managing control systems for water-powered dams, to using high-tech manufacturing machinery. Students in these programs get meaningful, hands-on training and learning.

And, school districts with CTE classes have found that these classes give high-risk students a reason to attend school and to find career options that are exciting to them, resulting in fewer dropouts.

CTE classes can be expensive. They often require additional space, tools, materials, and machinery, as well as teachers with experience in the technologies being taught. Often, class sizes have to be smaller to allow for careful instruction. As a result, many school districts do not have the resources to initiate or expand their CTE programs.

The legislature is working to find funding options so that students across the state can have access to manufacturing, construction and technology training. To both combat costs and encourage participation, recent discussions about STEM/CTE have also considered provisions for awarding college credit for high school CTE classes; students would then have fewer credits to earn in post-secondary or technical education programs, giving them a head start at getting the skills they need for their careers.

Businesses are also eager for expanded CTE programs so they can hire Oregon workers with the skills they need. A CTE/STEM coalition has been established to connect businesses, the legislature, government agencies, and the Oregon school system in designing legislation and programs that will most help students find fulfilling careers.

And, to showcase that work, as well as the importance of CTE learning in schools, this Wednesday, February 25 has been designated as ĎCTE Dayí at the Capitol. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Capitol Galleria will be showcasing CTE programs across the state. Students, teachers, and industry partners will be available to talk about the benefits of CTE programs and to explain to legislators why CTE funding is so crucial for Oregonís prosperity.

Lawmakers are encouraged to make CTE funding a priority for this Legislative Session. By connecting education to careers, Oregonians can have better, higher-wage jobs and more fulfilling, meaningful careers.