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

How Hot-Button Policies Affect Prices

The Washington Post, citing research from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), recently addressed an important topic that should be part of the discussion when legislators debate several policy issues currently in the news.  Luxury goods are falling in price while many necessities become more expensive.

While food and housing have increased in price by 60% over the past 20 years, items such as mobile phone service, televisions, computers and some toys have become less expensive, a chart from AEI shows.  Some of the biggest price increases involve expensive purchases that help improve quality – and in some cases – length of life: college education, child care and health care.

There are economic explanations for some of these price differences.  Technological advances have driven down the cost of many electronic gadgets and also have helped reduce the cost of producing some non-electronic manufactured goods.  In contrast, scientific breakthroughs sometimes increase the cost of health care by making expensive new treatments and drugs available.  Also, patients don’t shop for health care the way they shop for TVs or cell phones.  Education and child care are among the most labor dependent businesses and their services can’t be outsourced, which reduces cost-cutting options.  Meanwhile, the funding system for higher education and the loans many college students obtain also influence prices in myriad ways.

Still, policy positions that candidates and parties are promoting on hot-button issues in this year’s state and national campaigns could send prices of needed items even higher.

Protesters fly a balloon in front of the Oregon Capitol to
show their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
one of several election year issues that could affect consumer prices.

Start with the issue of trade.  Both presidential candidates oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and favor tighter trade policies.  Such policies would reduce competition, make imports more expensive and increase prices for some of the things (imported electronics, for example) that currently are cheap.

As for child care, higher minimum wages already are putting pressure on providers in some states, including Oregon.  Proposed scheduling rules could increase the likelihood, and size, of price increases for child care, as well as other goods and services.

Public universities across the nation are requesting budget increases.  In Oregon, the ask is $100 million more than the previous biennium.  But even if increases are justified – and in some cases they are – there is no assurance that increased public spending will lead to lower tuition rates, unless Legislatures take steps to require the money go toward tuition reduction.

Candidates pledging to help middle income Americans need to carefully consider how policy proposals will affect prices.  If they don’t, we will be discussing the same issues again in four years.

Click here to read the full article from The Washington Post.

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