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Oregon leads in this new fastest growing industry

May 17, 2018

By Oregon Prosperity Project,

Data centers are one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, and Oregon has emerged as one of the most popular states for companies looking for sites where they can process large amounts of data. Recent reports conducted for industry leaders Google and Facebook calculate the economic contributions of the companies’ data centers.

Highlights of the reports include:

  • Oregon is one of three states (along with North Carolina and Iowa) with Facebook and Google data centers, and both companies plan to expand their Oregon presences.
  • According to a report prepared by Oxford Economics, Google’s six data centers generated $1.3 billion in economic activity across the U.S. in 2016 and have generated more than 11,000 jobs. Google has invested $10.5 billion in its existing data centers. In Oregon, Google has invested $1.8 billion in its facilities in The Dalles and employs more than 200 workers.
  • A similar Facebook report prepared by RTI International showed Facebook’s four data centers contributed $4.2 billion to local economies from 2010-16. Facebook invested $5.8 billion on construction and operations of data centers during that period. In Oregon, it has invested more than $1 billion in a Prineville data center and has plans to add two more buildings to its campus. As of September 2017, Facebook had more than 200 full-time employees in Prineville.
  • Workers employed by Google and Facebook only partially explain the data centers’ economic impact. Hundreds of workers are employed during construction of facilities and expenditures related to the data centers create hundreds of additional jobs in local economies.
  • As the data center industry grows, Oregon is well-positioned to benefit. Google and Facebook are expanding here and another technology giant, Amazon, is building three data centers in Umatilla County through a subsidiary. Factors that make Oregon an attractive location for data centers include a reliable electricity supply through the Bonneville Power Administration, relatively low energy costs, and a good location between Washington and California.

Significantly, these large data centers are located in rural Oregon, where local economies have recovered more slowly than in the state’s metropolitan counties. While traditional rural industries such as timber and manufacturing continue to face challenges, forecasters expect continued growth in demand for data centers. Companies will meet this demand both by adding new facilities and modernizing existing ones. And that should add up to more jobs for rural Oregon.

To read the Google report, click here.

To read the Facebook report, click here.

To see a Business Oregon study on the data center industry in Oregon, click here.

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Jonathan Andrews May 17, 2018

We won’t lead if Oregon continues to raise taxes
And the cost of employment

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