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

Voters Show More Trade Acumen Than Nominees

For the first time since the 1920s, neither major-party nominee for president is supporting free trade.  But despite the anti-trade sentiments at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, evidence proves access to international markets benefits the U.S. economy.  And a new poll shows that the American public evidently understands these benefits better than the presidential nominees do.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week asked registered voters for their opinions on trade and other issues.  When asked whether “free trade with foreign countries is good for America, because it opens up new markets and because the United States can't avoid it in a global economy,” 55% agreed. 

A poll of Portland-area voters conducted in April found even stronger support for trade.  The poll was conducted by DHM Research.  Ninety% of those polled felt it was somewhat or very important for Oregon to support development of international trade.  Presented with the statement, “On balance, international trade is good for Oregon because it creates jobs here and grows the state’s economy,” 71% agreed.  And 62% agreed that “Our elected officials should be working to promote international trade to help Oregon businesses compete better in a global economy.”

The wording of the polling statements suggest an effective way for Oregon businesses and other supporters of free trade to make their case for open markets – by emphasizing both the tangible benefits of trade to Oregon and the inevitability of global competition.  Here are some facts that help make that case:

  • More than 6,000 Oregon businesses sell their products internationally;
  • More than 86,000 Oregon manufacturing jobs exist because of trade;
  • Oregon exports more than $2 billion of agricultural products a year;
  • About 490,000 Oregon jobs depend on international trade;
  • About 17% of Oregon jobs are generated by maritime and industrial activities at Oregon ports.

The presidential nominees have demonized trade in an effort to secure the votes of frustrated blue-collar workers struggling to find and keep good-paying jobs.  But the truth is that the jobs created by trade provide these workers some of the best opportunities for family wage jobs.  And that’s especially true in Oregon, where exports account for about 12% of the state’s economy – one of the highest percentages in the nation.

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