This post circles back on the recent Headwinds and Tailwinds presentation I gave at the Northwest Economic Research Center’s forecast breakfast. It also ties directly into the previous post on Oregon’s industrial structure overall.
The biggest high-tech takeaway from an industrial structure point of view is that Oregon’s historical strengths are not expected to lead growth moving forward. Oregon’s high-tech legacy and our regional economy’s comparative advantage lies in hardware manufacturing, with semiconductors being the most prominent. This portion of the high-tech industry will continue to generate considerable economic output, both directly and indirectly given large-scale operations with supply chains, and the clustering of a skilled workforce. However, job gains over the next decade are unlikely to follow suit due to ongoing productivity increases. To the extent that a few of these firms do add jobs, there are others scaling back. As such, Oregon’s high-tech growth will be driven by the software side of the industry.
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