Posted by: Josh Lehner | June 5, 2012

Oregon Gross Domestic Product

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released state GDP for 2011 this morning. All told among the 50 US states and DC, 43 saw increases in real GDP in 2011, however growth slowed relative to 2010 rates in nearly all states and the nation overall. The industry driving the largest change was durable good manufacturing. In both 2010 and 2011, durable goods led the growth as the manufacturing cycle kicked in and consumers and businesses spent money to satisfy their pent-up demand. Oregon is no exception as the state followed this pattern precisely and given our reliance on durable goods manufacturing as an employment sector, this cycle is not unexpected and is welcomed news. (In 2011, Oregon’s location quotient for durable goods manufacturing employment was 1.3)

In 2011, Oregon’s real GDP grew by 4.7 percent, which ranks 2nd best among all states, trailing only North Dakota. The two graphs below illustrate real GDP growth in Oregon and the US and also Oregon’s growth ranking among all states over the 1998-2011 period. Note that a ranking of 1 is the best or strongest growth.

The above is calculated in terms of total real GDP, however a similar pattern emerges when calculating the changes on a per capita basis. Oregon’s real per capita GDP growth of 3.8 percent in 2011 ranks 3rd best, while the state’s growth of 9.5 percent in 2010 ranked the highest among all states and DC.

In terms of industry level detail, as seen in the table below, Oregon’s growth was led by durable goods manufacturing in both 2010 and 2011. The table shows annual growth by industry for both 2010 and 2011.

Finally, the last graph illustrates all states’ growth in real GDP for 2011.

One final thought. This data is all history at this point. We knew Oregon would bounce back in terms of GDP during the recovery given our underlying industry structure. This has largely come to pass and the state experienced ok employment and wage gains last year. The challenge, as always, is translating this GDP growth into local income.

UPDATE: Based on some further discussions, I thought the following graph my be a useful addition. This shows Oregon’s per capita GDP ranking on a 5 year and 10 year growth basis. During the early 1980s Oregon ranked the worst in the country (believable), during the late 1990s following the tech ramp up, Oregon ranked the best (believable) and then during the 2000s, Oregon’s growth ranked in the top half or top 15 of all states (again, I’d argue, believable).


  1. […] within Oregon as Bend and Medford were particularly hard hit by the housing cycle. We know that Oregon overall usually ranks well in terms of GDP due largely to our extermely producitive high tech sector, of which the […]

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