The Industries Fueling Portland’s Hot Job Market
Photo courtesy Travel Portland
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According to Moody's, the Portland economy is expected to boom over the next three years with an annual growth rate of 7.3% — the second fastest in the U.S. Forbes ranks Portland third on its "2015 List of The Best Places for Business and Careers", which is up 18 spots from 2014.
Portland is a hub for innovation and a workforce talent magnet. With a metropolitan labor pool growing at 6 times the national average, companies in Portland have an established recruiting base with deep pools of skilled workers across all industry sectors to draw upon, notably technology, software, clean tech, and active and outdoor apparel and footwear
And with global connections and the most competitive cost of doing business on the West Coast, Greater Portland is able to offer the talent, infrastructure, and connectivity that make the region a great place for business, and a quality of life that allows people who live here to be skiing or surfing in just one hour from the urban core.
Portland offers many advantages to workers and employers alike, spanning from the downtown core and Willamette River to outlying suburbs, including Hillsboro, Clackamas, and Gresham, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. This means that employers have options on where to locate where it makes sense to their bottom line, while workers have diverse career paths to choose from in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.
A Talent Magnet
Greater Portland has the advantage of drawing on a widely talented and diverse workforce exceeding 1.02 million. Greater Portland has experienced a 5-year population growth rate of 4.8%, gaining 114,631 people from 2010-2014. The region is expected to gain an additional 400,000 people by 2035. Greater Portland’s workforce is educated and growing:
- Thirty-one percent of the workforce holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- As a whole, 91% of the region’s workforce has at least a high school diploma.
- Portland’s workforce is experiencing a year-over-year job growth of 2.04%.
In looking to expand a company, the ability to attract talent is of significant importance. Greater Portland is one of the most significant talent magnets in the nation with an annual net migration of more than 4,000 people who are 25 and older holding Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Of the largest 50 U.S. metro areas, only Portland and Seattle ranked in the top 15 for each period analyzed—1980 to 2010—with the highest rate of attracting and retaining young, college-educated migrants. This means the region consistently attracts desired talent, even throughout “boom and bust” cycles.
Portland supports numerous industries in diverse areas. This is not an exhaustive list but meant to give an idea of the breadth of major business areas.
High tech. The Portland high tech industry continues to grow, with high tech employee hiring reaching a 12-year high. The software side of high tech has grown almost 50% in just the past 10 years, with companies like Jive Software, Puppet Labs, and Jama Software.
Manufacturing. Manufacturing in Greater Portland is highly productive and a large segment relative to other metro areas. In 2014, manufacturing workers made up nearly 11 percent of Portland metro’s workforce with 107,000 jobs. Portland metro is a national leader in specialized areas of manufacturing such as high tech electronics and specialty metal fabrication. For example, Precision Castparts Corp. is a worldwide, diversified manufacturer of complex metal components and products.