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.

Unemployment

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


U.S. National Debt: Too Big to Fail?

At $18 trillion, the U.S.’s national debt is larger than the total gross domestic product of China, India, Canada, and Japan combined in 2013.

If you placed 18 trillion U.S. dollar bills end-to-end, they would stretch more than 1.7 billion miles.  That’s 9 round-trips to the sun, or 68,270 times around the earth at the equator, or 3,620 flights to the moon and back.

$18 trillion.  It is difficult to even fathom the magnitude of this number, it is so large.  If every person living in the U.S. – from babies to the elderly, all 319 million people – were to have an equal share of the national debt, they would each owe $56,426.  And, that burden is even higher when considered on a household basis to equate for children, dependents, and families; the approximately 118 million U.S. households would each owe $152,540 of the national debt.

The national debt got significant attention in 2013, when a 16-day government shutdown preceded a Congressional vote to raise the debt limit, which was $16.7 trillion at the time, and to allow for new funding for the national budget.

As time has passed, attention has shifted away from the national debt toward other issues.  However, the national debt is still rising.

Each year, the government may run a surplus, meaning it takes in more revenue than it spends, or a deficit, when it receives less revenue than it spends.  Deficits increase the national debt, while surpluses allow for it to be paid off.

For the last two years, the U.S. has run budget deficits of $680 billion (2013) and $483 billion (2014).  While these deficits are smaller than during the peak of the recession when government stimulus spending was rampant, they are still deficits that add to the total national debt.

When additional money is borrowed to fund government expenditures, taxpayers are burdened with paying off the principle – the original amount borrowed – as well as paying the interest.  And, as one would expect, the interest on $18 trillion is quite high.  In its fiscal year 2014, the Treasury reported about $431 billion in interest payments.  While the national debt may be carried forward for future generations to pay back, funding the interest costs is a current problem.

How can the national debt be reduced?

It all starts by balancing the national budget this year so that expenditures are equal to revenue.  Avoiding a deficit and stopping the growth of the national debt is an important first step toward greater financial solvency.  The U.S. hasn’t had a budget surplus since 2001, almost 15 years ago.

Many economists suggest that the most effective means of balancing the budget involves a two-pronged approach of decreasing spending and increasing taxes.  While neither of these measures is pleasant, both can help contribute to reducing the U.S.’s national debt obligations and to creating a more stable financial climate.

As Congress and President Obama work toward designing and implementing the 2016 budget, it is important to consider both the current and future burdens of running future deficits.  The national debt is already almost unfathomably large and adding to it further could damage the financial security and sustainability of present and future generations of Americans.