Posted by: Josh Lehner | June 4, 2014

Oregon’s North Coast

Continuing our quarterly series on Oregon’s regional economies. This post originally appeared in our office’s June 2014 quarterly economic and revenue forecast document.


Oregon’s North Coast – stretching from the Columbia River to the Yachats River – is home to an economy that has strong concentrations in both agriculture – dairy, fishing and timber – and travel and tourism.

Like much of Oregon, the North Coast has experienced two severe recessions: the early 80s and the Great Recession. Regional unemployment did not spike quite as high as it did statewide during the Great Recession and job losses were not as deep, however job growth has stalled in the past 18 months. This stall is evident in all three counties, however Clatsop (-4.3%) and Tillamook (-5.4%) are closer to pre-recession peak levels than Lincoln (-7.9%) today. Overall the region is about 6 percent below, compared with comparable statewide figure of 2 percent.


While the region has a strong agricultural base, it is highly specialized in fishing (62% of commercial fishing value statewide), dairy products (Tillamook County) and timber (mostly logging).


Much of the region is easily assessable for the state’s largest population bases in the Willamette Valley – a 1-1.5 hour drive for most – thus making the region a top destination for both out-of-state and in-state travelers. Lodging sales per capita and the share of homes classified as vacant for seasonal, recreational or occasional use (aka second homes) lead the state by a good margin.

NCoastTourismAs such, the regional economy’s top location quotients (measuring employment concentrations) largely follow the agriculture and travel and tourism sectors.


The region’s demographics, much like rural Oregon in general, skew slightly older however Clatsop is relatively close to the state averages, including being among the Top 10 in working age population. Clatsop’s natural rate of population increase is positive in recent years, unlike Lincoln, Tillamook and many of Oregon’s rural counties, particularly the South Coast.

For more information on the North Coast please see the Oregon Employment Department, in particular regional economist Eric Knoder and workforce analyst Shawna Sykes‘s work for Region 1 (Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook) and Region 4 (Lincoln, Linn, Benton).


  1. […] has clearly outperformed over the whole business cycle and is in a strong position today. The North Coast has fared ok in recent years and is growing near its typical expansionary rates, even if the region […]

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