Posted by: Josh Lehner | August 12, 2015

Oregon Exports 2015: Industries

Given that Oregon remains an agricultural and manufacturing hub, and our strategic location along the Pacific Rim, it is no real surprise to see strong exports from the state. In 2014, Oregon exported nearly $21 billion worth of products and through the first half of 2015, the state is on pace to match that figure. Measuring exports relative to the size of the economy, Oregon consistently ranks well across all states. What follows is a brief overview of Oregon exports by industry and tomorrow we will examine the state’s top destination markets.

Exports by Industry

Exports are generally measured by their dollar value, not their bulk. As such, Oregon’s high-technology producers – semiconductors in particular – dominate statewide figures, accounting for over 40 percent of Oregon exports in the past 15-20 years. These products, while generally lightweight and shipped around the world to assembly plants via air, are extremely valuable. They are the “brains” behind many of our electronic products. They are also somewhat different from other types of exports in the sense that they are not influenced so much by any one country’s consumer demand but rather the global technology market and the life cycle for each successive generation of products.

One cannot discuss Oregon exports without discussing the impact of the state’s technology products, however given their relatively different pattern, focusing on all other industries can be enlightening.


Much of the growth in Oregon exports in recent years has been in heavy manufacturing – machinery, metals and transportation equipment. While the metals and machinery are holding strong in recent quarters, transportation equipment is declining. Many of these products are destined for Canadian markets, more on this tomorrow.

Agricultural and food products are down in the past two quarters, mostly due to lower commodity prices globally although West Coast labor disputes along with the Port of Portland losing container service may be impacting the numbers as well. Furniture exports are growing, even as the broader wood products sector is stable. Exports from other industries or sectors of the economy have seen strong, but stable since the Great Recession.


  1. […] exports relative to the size of the economy, Oregon consistently ranks well across all states. Yesterday we explored Oregon exports by industry. Today we will examine the state’s top destination […]

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