About the Report

This report, compiled by The Trade Partnership for the Portland Business Alliance, Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Oregon Business Council, Port of Portland and the Pacific Northwest International Trade Association examines how international trade impacts job creation and the economy of Oregon and the Portland-metro area.* A companion analysis, A Check-up on the Portland Regionís Economic Health, identified some alarming economic challenges facing the Portlandmetro region including sagging wages and incomes and, in Multnomah County, significant job losses. However, international trade stood out as an area of economic strength for both the region and the state.

This report looks at ways international trade benefits the regional and state economy. As the analysis makes clear, international trade is a significant net generator of jobs and income for Oregon workers. It is one of the few areas of the economy that, despite the recession, is growing. It is also an area where Oregon and Portland have substantial competitive advantages relative to U.S. and international competitors.

This report confirms the findings of a 2010 national analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution, which found that Portland was one of the top twenty U.S. metropolitan areas in exporting strength and one of only four metropolitan areas in the country that doubled the real value of their exports between 2003 and 2008.** The rise in value of exports was led by the computer and electronics sector, but includes both manufactured goods and, increasingly, service exports.

However, our success as an international competitor is not a foregone conclusion in coming years. Other ports, states and nations are investing heavily in improved transportation facilities, making land available and implementing public policies to promote their competitiveness in attracting international trade and employment.

A thriving economy and good jobs are the foundation of our quality of life. Taxes on incomes support critical public services like schools, health care and law enforcement. As with the other studies in this series, we hope this information will start a conversation among public and private leaders to help move public policy in a direction that enhances our quality of life by improving and creating good paying jobs.

* International Trade: A Driver of Output and Employment in Oregon and Portland/Vancouver, The Trade Partnership, December 2010. For a full copy of the report, please see www.valueofjobs.com. Portland-metro refers to the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA.

** Export Nation: How U.S. Metros Lead National Export Growth and Boost Competitiveness, Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, July 2010. www.brookings.edu/metro.