Posted by: Josh Lehner | May 8, 2013

Misc Graphs

There have been a number of interesting items out there in the econ blogosphere in the past week which I wanted to pass along but not much time to comment on directly, so I leave you with these.

Over at The Economist, Ryan Avent discusses metropolitan growth in terms of GDP, population, migration, housing and income. Makes for an interesting read.


The next two graphs were making the rounds the other day. I cannot seem to track them down again, so I recreated them based on the household survey data from BLS. This is just another way of showing that the returns to education are high and the recovery in employment has been in the higher skilled positions (something I will discuss in more depth in a forthcoming report).


Finally, something a little more fun, seeing as it is my birthday and all. Recently CNN ranked the best beer towns in the US. Portland came in at #1 and Bend at #7. While that’s great news, I’m left wondering how you can find 6 other cities better than Bend, but I digress. In honor of our great breweries in the state, I pulled the latest employment data for breweries. It turns out we just hit a milestone at the end of 2012 with 1,000 direct brewery jobs within the beverage manufacturing industry.


Now, of course, this comes with a big caveat as this count does not include all the brewpub staff and wholesalers or distributors or those attached to the overall industry. Furthermore, some businesses are classified under food service and drinking places and not just breweries, but nevertheless the industry as seen strong growth and reaching new heights in terms of production, sales and employment. The Oregon Brewers Guild cites an industry employment figure of 5,650. But for the best analysis of the industry employment and geography I turn to the Employment Department’s work from last year. They took the OLCC license data and matched it with employer records to track the number of jobs reported at each business with a license to brew. Employment found about 4,650 jobs in 2011 among all those establishments and an industry that was growing rapidly even during these tough economic times. Lots of good information in their report and I suggest you follow the link if you want a broader scope of the industry in the state.


  1. Josh,

    As I read the chart, the Portland Metro area gets bragging rights for economic growth — and not just because of population growth, but more because of productivity increases. Do I understand this correctly? And how do we reconcile these data with the continued lag in per capita personal incomes vs. the national numbers in the Portland metro area?

    Tim Nesbitt

    • Hi Tim. Yes, the strong growth in Portland GDP is primarily due to productivity gains whereas most MSAs in recent years have relied upon population gains. This speaks to the efficiency of our high technology firms, chips in particular as today’s products are much more efficiency and therefore productive than yesterday’s models. The result are large increases in measured productivity, even with approximately the same number of workers. Our point of view is that the truth of Oregon’s economic prowess is somewhere between our really good GDP figures and our lagging per capita income figures.

  2. Thanks for the graphs, and happy birthday! As to graph 2– a lot of the increase in the 55+ employment is due to population gain as opposed to a big increase in the percentage of 55+ with a job. Even after adjustment for demographic shifts, LED data shows an uptick in jobs held by older women. Turns out it’s the age cohort for the women who hit the labor market in big numbers in the 1970s/80s, in part as a response to feminism, in part as a response to stagnating men’s wages.

    • Thanks Scott. You are absolutely right about the demographic changes affecting the numbers. A larger cohort, with a high participation rate than previous generations. It is also, at least in part, about firms keeping their most productive workers during the recession – which tend to be the more experienced, and more educated, on average – while laying off their lower productive workers.

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