2016 Report Summary
(1.4MB pdf)

By a number of economic measures, Portland-metroís regional economy continued to rebound in 2016. A growing economy, increasing jobs and wages and high productivity are significant strengths. As Portland-metro continues to grow, it is undergoing fundamental economic shifts that are good news for some, but prosperity is not equally spread across the region. That is the challenge ahead: How can we better share prosperity across all corners and among all residents of Portland-metro?

The Value of Jobs Coalition has tracked the health of Portlandmetroís economy in an annual Economic Check-Up report since 2010 ó through the dark years of the Great Recession and into a slow-moving job recovery that finally picked up pace in 2014. Today, the Portland-metro job market remains strong with a total of 165,950 new jobs added since the depth of the recessionary losses. In a change from last yearís Economic Check-Up, nearly every industry, with the exception of manufacturing, has recovered the total number of jobs lost in the recession.

With improvements in the job market, more people are going to work. Past Value of Jobs reports have shown that Median Household Income (MHI) in Portland-metro, along with the nation, stagnated for low- and middle-income workers over the last several years. By contrast, this yearís report shows that income gains were broadly shared across all levels and poverty declined. Though Portlandmetroís incomes have not risen back to pre-recession levels, the regionís income growth between 2015 and 2016 outpaced the U.S. average as well as all comparator regions.

Another continued bright spot for Portland-metro is Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP,) which ranks 8th among major U.S. metro areas. While other regions have stronger job growth, Portland-metro continues to be a productivity powerhouse due to historic strength in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing. This yearís report also suggests that Portland-metro is separating from some of its peer comparator regions. In terms of job and income growth, Portland-metro is inching closer to the larger metro areas that were once considered aspirational comparators, and with that comes challenges with being a more populous region.

If we are to create a strong Portland-metro and economic prosperity for everyone, tackling the following challenges must be a priority:

  • Household income varied dramatically by city, and household growth by income shows disparities are on the rise. Long-term, the region is drifting toward a higher-income profile with net in-migration concentrated at the high end. Lower-income households are moving further from the regionís center, and some may be exiting Portland-metro altogether. These statistics underscore that the primary goal of the Value of Jobs Coalition ó growing quality family-wage jobs ó must continue so all residents have the opportunity to share the prosperity.
  • An insufficient housing supply continues to impact affordability. Household displacement is rising across the region except for gentrified areas in inner Portland. Failure to address these interregional affordability challenges may impact economic mobility and opportunity, stressing the regionís infrastructure as households move farther from job centers and the city core.
  • Communities of color are not equitably sharing in the regionís growing prosperity. As Portland-metro continues to grow and become more diverse, ensuring widely available opportunities for all residents will be critical for the region to thrive.

This report is an annual point-in-time look at the Portland-metro economy. It provides a foundation that can be used to address the issues raised above. The Value of Jobs Coalition is committed to finding solutions to these challenges, bringing the strength of the private sector to bear to create opportunities for everyone.



The number of new jobs added in Portland-metro from September 2015 to September 2016.


The number of new construction jobs added in Portland-metro between September 2015 and September 2016.


The national ranking of Portland-metroís gross metropolitan product growth among the top 100 U.S. metros from 2014 to 2015.


The percentage which Portland-metroís median household income grew in 2015, outpacing all peer and aspirational regions in annual growth.


The percentage that 2015 real median household income in Portland-metro compares to 2008 levels.

$46,457, $60,082 and $101,212

The median household income in Gresham, Portland and Camas, Wash., respectively.


The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Portland; exceeding 100 percent of median family income for the region (plus utility expenses).


The percentage that 2015 real median household incomes in Portland have decreased from 2005 levels for African Americans.