Posted by: Josh Lehner | September 2, 2014

Graph of the Week: Oregon Manufacturing

Our latest economic and revenue forecast, released last week, featured a section on the historical changes underlying Oregon’s manufacturing and resource industries. It is somewhat timely both for the interest in the state’s manufacturing sector, including relatively recent legislation and agreements, but also given the Labor Day holiday and changing nature of the economy in recent decades. It also brings us this edition of the Graph of the Week, while previewing some additional material still to come.

The large size of Oregon’s manufacturing and resource industries are what set the state apart, relative to others. Over Oregon’s history, such a large degree of exposure to these industries has proven to be both a blessing as well as a curse. Manufacturing and resource industries are highly productive and generate a great deal of ancillary economic activity. At the same time, production in these industries can be volatile and are under tremendous long-run pressures for the competitive forces of globalization and technological change.

With nearly 180,000 workers, Oregon’s manufacturers employ no more people today than they did in 1970. Over this period, the industry’s share of statewide employment has fallen from nearly 1 in 3 to 1 in 10 today. While these job losses have been extreme, they pale in comparison to losses in other states. Aside from a few brief periods, Oregon’s manufacturing payrolls have outperformed those in other regions during both good times and bad. In recent years, Oregon’s relatively modern mix of manufacturers have shield the state somewhat from the large cuts seen among old-line manufactures in the Midwest and South.



  1. […] remains a natural resource and manufacturing state, which along with our strong migration patterns, are really the two distinctive features that sets […]

  2. […] similar position coming out of a deep recession as they were back in the 1980s. More importantly, Oregon’s share of all U.S. manufacturing jobs is increasing over time. Much of this has to do with the fact that Oregon manufacturing is not tied as much to what we call […]

  3. […] at the same rate as the nation. Our transportation jobs have seen more negative trends, however our manufacturing sector has clearly outperformed the typical […]

  4. […] produces goods. Even as manufacturing jobs as a share of the all jobs continues to fall over time, Oregon manufacturing continues to make up a larger and larger share of U.S. manufacturing jobs. This business cycle is no […]

  5. […] As manufacturing employment has leveled out and even seen some small job losses in the past year, now is a good time to take stock of where things stand. Nationwide, manufacturing employment today is nearly 14% smaller than prior to the Great Recession and the sector has recovered just 3 in 10 of its lost jobs. Here in Oregon, manufacturing has seen somewhat better trends, but still has not fully recovered from the Great Recession. Oregon manufacturing employment is nearly 10% smaller than prior to the Great Recession but has regained more than half its lost jobs. Oregon is not immune to the impacts of globalization and technological change, however this relative pattern of outperforming the typical state has happened since the 1970s. Oregon’s manufacturing employment has fallen like it has everywhere, but Oregon manufacturing as a share of U.S. manufacturing continues to increase. […]

  6. […] — we have stronger expansions and deeper recessions. This is for two primary reasons. First, Oregon remains a manufacturing state. Second, migration. People have been moving to Oregon in droves ever since Lewis & […]

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