Policy Agenda

The Value of Jobs Coalition focuses on the following policy areas with the goal of making middle-income job retention and creation the regionís top priority.


An educated workforce is critical to business success, and strong education systems can help attract businesses to Portland-metro and the state of Oregon. Ensuring the education system is connected to training the workforce needed to support our economy requires deliberate actions at the state and local levels, such as expanding Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, as well as funding the stateís post-secondary institutions. Value of Jobs reports show that college-educated workers in the Portland metro earn less than in other metro areas. This has a ripple effect; if college-educated workers earned the same as the U.S. metro average, it would result in $2.7 billion in additional annual earnings.

International Trade

Trade is a critical component of the state and Portland-metro economies. Studies for the Value of Jobs Coalition show that trade-related employment grew 7.5 times faster that total employment between 2004 and 2011. Export-related jobs pay eighteen percent higher than non-exporting jobs and have a significant multiplier effect. In terms of export value as a share of metro output, Portland-metro ranks fourth amount the largest U.S. metro areas. With small- and medium-sized businesses making up 90 percent of exporters, expanding opportunities for international trade supports businesses of all sizes.

Jobs and Incomes

Value of Jobs studies show Portland-metroís gross metropolitan product outpaces the nation and jobs lost in the recession have recovered. However, median household and per capita incomes continue to trail the national average for metropolitan area. Further, job growth relative to population growth has declined. Policies and investments must support job and income growth, and economic development efforts must be targeted on growing quality, family-wage jobs, especially those in traded sectors. Given Oregonís dependence on income tax revenue, growing more quality jobs and better incomes will mean additional revenues for public services such as education over the long run.

Land Use

Adequate industrial land to support new and expanding businesses is critical to growing jobs and incomes. Value of Jobs studies show a lack of market-ready large industrial lots to accommodate business demands and growth of traded-sector and middle-income jobs, such as those in manufacturing which provide higher wages and benefits than non-manufacturing jobs. State and local actions and investments are required to ensure a long-term supply of market-ready industrial lands.

Taxes and Budgets

Local and state taxes and budgets have a direct impact on other Value of Jobs policy focus areas. Taxes and fees should be structured to encourage an environment in which businesses can grow and add jobs and investments are made, which in turn impacts the revenues available for funding critical public services such as education and infrastructure investments that support business success.


The Economic Impacts of Congestion in Oregon, a Value of Jobs study, emphasizes the importance of transportation investments in supporting business competitiveness and a prosperous economy. According to the study, if additional investments are made, $1.1 billion in economic benefits and 8,300 jobs will accrue to the state annually by 2040. Maintaining the existing system and strategically improving the system at the local and state level provides a return on investment in terms of business productivity and job growth.