Key Facts

2011 Report Summary
(1.9MB pdf)

In the 2011 report, the data points reveal opportunities and challenges for Portland-metro. These challenges and opportunities raise questions of how we leverage these opportunities and resolve these challenges to improve our regionís quality of life.

  • Portland-metroís employment per capita remained 6 percent below pre-recession levels by the close of 2010, compared to a 5 percent gap among all U.S. metros. Portland-metroís employment drop was also worse, dropping 8 percent (or by 81,200 fewer people employed), which was two percentage points lower than the average for U.S. metro areas. Only 17,900 new employees have been added back.

How can our region better withstand downturns in U.S. metro employment cycles?

  • Historically, Portland-metro suffers larger employment downturns in recessions than the average for U.S. metros. Nearly half of the total jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession will never be recovered.

What economic development and workforce strategies could be created to make our employment base more resilient?

  • One area where Portland-metro performs exceptionally well is in the growth of its gross metropolitan product per capita (GMP). Between 2001 and 2010, the Portland-metroís GMP per capita grew from about 5 percent below the U.S. metro average to about 20 percent above the U.S. metro average.

How can our region better leverage its significant levels of productivity to grow private-sector jobs that produce stronger per capita income gains?

  • Portland-metro is ranked 23rd in population size, but 73rd in real personal income per capita and 136th in employment per capita. Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis metros continue to exceed expectations, generating higher per capita incomes than would be predicted by their size alone.

Why isnít our region performing up to its potential or even outperforming it like our peer regions?



The decline in the number of people working in the Portland-metro area between the peak of the recession in February 2008 and the bottom of the recession in early 2010.


Number of new employees the region has added since the bottom of the recession in early 2010.


The percentage by which per capita gross metropolitan product in Portland-metro exceeds the average for all U.S. metros.


Rank of the Portland-metro area in population size among all U.S. metros in 2010.


Rank of Portland-metro in employment per capita among all U.S. metros in 2010.


Rank of Portland-metro in personal income per capita among all U.S. metros in 2010.


The increase in real personal income per capita between 1983 and 2008.


Increase in real state and local tax and fee revenues between 1983 and 2008.


The change in state and local taxes and fees as a percent of personal income, between 1983 and 2008.

Portland-metro in this report refers to the Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Portland- Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA. The other metro regions in this study are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas used by the U.S. Census Bureau.