Why this matters to Oregonians

Why is it is so important to drive private-sector job development in a way that improves personal incomes? Why does Portland-metro need to improve its economic performance?

Throughout this report, we raised a series of questions that we will continue to ask in policy discussions with civic and elected leaders in hopes that we can zero in on the issues impacting our regionís growth. What are our regionís strengths and how do we leverage them?

Portland-metro has many strengths; high productivity in manufacturing and international trade. According to the Brookings Institution, Portland-metro ranked second in the nation in export growth between 2003 and 2008, during which time it doubled the value of exports. We need to take advantage of these strengths as a way to grow jobs as well as wages and incomes.

What are our regionís weaknesses and how do we address them? One of our concerns is the lack of industrial land for employers. In the coming year, we will be issuing an in-depth look at the sites available and what hurdles exist for incoming employers.

Our coalition of business groups believes the region must focus on our strengths and weaknesses to recover from this past recession, diversify our economic base to stabilize through economic cycles and realize our potential. In a focused and coordinated effort, we can retain and grow employers and diversify our economy in a way that grows wages and incomes. If we want more funds for schools and other public services as well as a better quality of life for our regionís families, then adding private-sector jobs and increasing incomes is the only way to get there.