Why this matters to Oregonians

Thereís good news in this yearís economic update. The region has fully recovered the jobs it lost in the recession, and employment has grown to all-time highs. The value of goods and services produced here is increasing at a faster pace than all but a couple of regions. This reinforces our reputation for innovation and productivity.

However, the jobs and output numbers havenít produced the income gains that typically accompany economic expansions. This isnít a Portland problem. Income stagnation is a common theme across the country.

Portlandís answer to slow-growing income lies in how we address two big trends: the technology revolution and a growing global middle class. Technology is eliminating routine, middle-skill work. Simultaneously, technology demands higher-skilled laboróto design, operate, and otherwise harness its potential. Our students, workers and schools must be better informed about the direction of technology and organize their training and studies around it. We must connect education to the economy.

The growing global middle classóon track to more than double in sizeóis a huge opportunity for the Portland-metro region. This reconfirms the need for a coherent, focused export strategy, and increases the urgency to attract and retain diverse students and investors to the region, who understand foreign markets and have deep networks overseas.

There are challenges and opportunities ahead. Working together, we can be ready for them and focus on our common vision of growing jobs that support our regionís families.