Everything you need to know about moving to Greater Portland.

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Current Job Market in Portland

Laura Sonnenberg of Vintage Real Estate explains Portland's current job market, and why you should make Portland your home.

Credit: Laura Sonnenberg - Vintage Real Estate


The West Coast is synonymous with innovation, growth and prosperity, and Portland is no exception. With it’s steady and growing talent base – the labor pool is growing at a rate six times the national average – and established and diverse industries, the city is a hotbed for workforce talent, job growth, and cutting-edge innovation in software IT, manufacturing, healthcare, and athletic and outdoor apparel.

Job Growth

As of March 2018, Portland’s unemployment rate was 4.1%, an exceptionally low rate that hasn’t been seen since the mid-1970s. This is in large part due to the incredible job growth in the region. Since the 2009 recession, Portland has created 207,000 jobs – 5,000 of which were added in January of this year. Portland’s job growth is 7% higher than the rest of the country, making it a attractive place for new talent and for talent retention.

Income and Salaries

Not only does the steady job growth make Portland an attractive city, but the average income for Portland residents is noticeably higher than other areas of the United States. For the average Portland resident, their income is almost $4,000/year higher than the national average. This adds up and is nothing to sneeze at – especially when you look at all the other things the city has to offer for its residents.


It’s no secret that Portland is a beautiful place to live – how could it not be? It’s located on the West Coast, where you can find beaches for surfing, and mountains for skiing and snowboarding just a short distance from where you live and work. The beauty of Portland is a selling feature for employers who can entice talent from around the world with cutting edge innovative positions and a universally enjoyable place to live. Because of the competitive job market, hopeful job growth rates, global connections, strong infrastructure, and career opportunities in private, public, and non-profit sectors, Portland is an ideal location for job seekers and employers alike.

Diverse Industries

Portland is known for its diverse industries ranging from software IT, to manufacturing, healthcare, and athletic and outdoor apparel, and education, among others. Here is a breakdown of some of these industries to help illustrate the diversity:

  • Software IT: Some of the largest private sector employers in Portland are software IT companies. Companies such as Intel and Comcast grace the top 15 list for number of employees in the region, demonstrating the importance of software IT for job growth in the region. This is an industry that is growing across the country and Portland is helping lead that growth with competitive wages and low turnover rates.
  • Manufacturing is another important industry for job growth in the region, making up 11% of the workforce. It’s no surprise given that that Portland is home to high-tech electronic manufacturing, complementing the large software IT presence.
  • Aside from tech, Portland has a strong healthcare sector, employing 113,000 people. With the aging population growing, this industry will only become more important. The strong presence already in the region makes it well positioned to continue to grow with changing demographics.
  • Athletic and Outdoor Apparel: Home to Nike headquarters and some of the most beautiful hiking and running trails in the country, it’s not surprising that another of Portland’s leading job creators is the athletic and outdoor apparel industry.
  • Education is one of the top employers in both the private and public spheres in Portland – it makes up over 50% of the top 15 largest public-sector employers in the region. With the high number of education institutions, Portland is not only a strong employer for those in the educational sphere, but it is also ensuring a growing talent base of graduates for employers in a variety of industries.

With these diverse industries, strong talent pool, steady job growth, and beautiful location, Portland is perfect for job seekers and employers alike.


Article By: Laura Sonneberg - Vintage Real Estate