Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Young, Educated (and Unemployed) Moving to Portland

The Portland Metro area is made up of Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, as well as Clark and Skamania counties in Washington. The area is Oregon's largest population center (by far) and the Oregon counties alone accounted for nearly 50% of the state's employment in March. The Oregon portion of the area also accounted for nearly 43% of the state's unemployed.

Although Portland's unemployment rate usually fares slightly better than the rest of the state, it tends to have a higher unemployment rate than many other metro areas around the nation. One reason may be that Portland is seen as an attractive place to live - especially by young, educated people - and tends to attract new residents regardless of the local unemployment rate. The trend is unique enough to land Portland on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this weekend in an article detailing the city's growing population of young, educated (and unemployed) residents. Noted reasons that these individuals may be attracted to the area: bicyclist culture and coffee shops per capita.

While the trend may be creating short-term upward pressure on the unemployment rate, it may also put Portland in a great position to capitalize on young talent and innovation once the economy begins to grow again.

Check out the full text of the Wall Street Journal article, and read our most recent Local Labor Trends packet for the Portland Metro area for more details about the area's current employment situation. April's county-level employment data will become available next Tuesday, May 26th.

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