Introduction

This fourth Economic Check-Up, produced by the Value of Jobs Coalition, shows continuing positive news for the Portland-metro region. Almost all of the jobs lost in the 2008 recession have been recovered, and there is favorable movement in median household income, one of the most important indicators of our regionís overall health.

Still, compared to other ďaspirationalĒ regions, Portland-metro has room to improve, so we canít take our eye off of the need to create and retain quality jobs that can support families. As we have learned, this is even more important in an income-tax-dependent state like Oregon, where money for important public services such as schools, social services and public safety is directly tied to the existence of quality jobs and strong incomes.

In our other nine economic studies, the Value of Jobs Coalition identified three key indicators that effectively demonstrate the economic health of our region: Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP), employment and income.

This fourth check-up focuses on those three indicators and how the Portland-metro area competes relative to the U.S. metro average, as well as peer and aspirational metro areas. Past annual check-ups identified which metro areas we are similar to in terms of size and performance (peers), as well as some metro areas we strive to be like (aspirational). This study tracks our progress and will serve as the model for future comparisons.

Looking at those three indicators, Portland-metroís GMP continues to outperform the U.S. metro average and many other regions, thanks, in part, to our strong electronics and semiconductor employers such as Intel. Employment is better, but not good enough, and incomes have improved, although we still lag significantly behind our aspirational peers.

Fundamentally, this report underscores the findings of the other Value of Jobs reports: to create a healthy regional economy that supports families and public services, we must focus on retaining and creating high-value jobs, including jobs related to manufacturing, traded-sector businesses and international trade.