Monday, April 16, 2012

"The Other Oregon" Economy

An article published by The Oregonian discusses the contrast in employment impacts between the Oregon's largest metro area and the balance of the state since the Great Recession. The main point: employment continues to suffer for the rest of the state outside the Portland area. The Office of Economic Analysis illustrates (see graph below) that Portland's February employment still sits about 4 percent below the level seen four years prior. Meanwhile, employment for the balance of the state sits about 9 percent below the February 2008 level.

What's more, this disparity doesn't appear to exist for our neighbors to the north. Seattle's February employment was, like Portland, about 4 percent below the jobs count in February 2008. However, the balance of Washington state shows roughly the same performance (-4%). The Office of Economic Analysis cites three reasons why non-Seattle Washington is doing better than non-Portland Oregon:
  • The Hanford Nuclear Reservation received some $2 billion in federal stimulus money that helped prop up jobs in the Tri-Cities Washington region
  • Washington cities such as Tri-Cities and Spokane didn't have the kind of prerecession housing bubble that were seen in Bend and the Medford area -- and which burst so disastrously
  • Perhaps Washington's mix of agricultural crops has fared better than Oregon's
For more information, see the original post by Economist Josh Lehner or the full article from The Oregonian.

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