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


Bumpy Roads Ahead: Why Oregonís Transportation Infrastructure has a Rocky Future

Did you know that there are over 71,500 miles of roads in Oregon? Thatís a lot of miles; in fact, if they were stretched out into a straight line, they would go around the equator of the Earth almost three times.

There are more than four million registered vehicles in Oregon, driving on Ė and wearing out Ė Oregonís roads. That doesnít count the thousands of additional out-of-state drivers who also utilize Oregonís roads, particularly the I-5 corridor from Washington to California.

Oregonís economy is highly dependent on its transportation system; it connects rural areas to centers of commerce. It provides a means for moving goods from Oregonís large manufacturing sector, hauling timber, and transporting agricultural products both across the state and to export markets. And it allows Oregonians to get to work and school, travel, and to enjoy the natural beauty found across the state.

But the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released its 2014 report about Oregonís roads, suggesting their future is in jeopardy.

Using a computer modeling system, ODOT analyzed the economic impacts of deteriorating roads in the next 20 years if its funding continues to lag. The results suggested that higher transportation costs from bad road conditions could lead to 100,000 lost jobs and a $94 billion decline in Oregonís GDP by 2035.

For every Oregon driver, ODOT estimated an additional $380 per year in car maintenance costs, in the future, under current road maintenance spending; bad, rough roads lead to more tire wear, worse fuel efficiency, and damages to suspension systems.

At current spending levels, ODOT suggests that it cannot work on modernization projects, like adding lanes on busy roads or expanding busy intersections.

So, whatís causing ODOTís funding problems?

In the past 10 years, average fuel economy for passenger vehicles has improved by 25% in the U.S. That means drivers can buy less fuel to drive the same distance. Better fuel economy leads to reduced CO2 emissions, improving environmental quality. But it also results in lower gas tax revenue.

Oregonís statewide gas tax has been $0.30 per gallon since 2011, when it increased from $0.24 per gallon in 2010. But, since 2011, the gas tax revenues have decreased by 4%. Meanwhile, vehicle registrations have increased by 1.2%.

More drivers are on the roads, causing more wear-and-tear, but there is less gas tax money to put toward them.

ODOTís 2015-2017 proposed legislative budget is $4 billion, about $88 million less than what was approved for the 2011-2013 legislatively approved budget. Thatís a significant amount of money. But, according to the Oregon Secretary of Stateís 2014 audit of ODOT, Oregon will have to invest an additional $7 billion into replacing and repairing infrastructure by 2030.

The Oregon Resilience Planís 2014 Seismic-Plus Report found that 138 Oregon bridges need to be replaced, and another 580 bridges need to be retrofitted or repaired to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes. Fixing, rebuilding, and replacing Oregonís bridges alone would cost more than $4 billion.

While infrastructure repair is very expensive, it can help to prevent even larger loses to Oregonís economy in the event of an earthquake, mudslide, bridge collapse, or any other catastrophic event that cannot be repaired quickly and leads to impeded traffic and commerce. Allocating funding for these repairs and updates, while expensive for today, can help Oregonís economy thrive in the future.