Oregon trade jobs grow 7x faster than non-trade

By Portland Business Alliance

The Portland Business Alliance, in partnership with the Value of Jobs Coalition, released its latest study: International Trade & the Portland Harbor’s Impact on the Portland-metro and Oregon Economy. The report highlights three inter-related studies which analyze the economic impacts of international trade and marine industrial businesses, revealing that Portland’s global trading gateway provides a significant amount of jobs for Oregonians and substantial growth opportunities for Oregon businesses, particularly manufacturers. The report can be found here.

The three studies examined different aspects of international trade in the Portland-metro region, but arrived at the same conclusions: Traded-sector businesses in general, and marine industrial businesses in particular, are catalysts for the region’s economy and important contributors to our post-recession recovery. And they directly create thousands of family-wage jobs and indirectly support nearly half a million jobs throughout the state.

“The report validates the far-reaching benefits of international trade in our region,” said Gregg Kantor, chair of the Portland Business Alliance board of directors and CEO of NW Natural. “Our goal is to build on this bright spot in our economy to ensure our region’s future success. That will require supporting policy initiatives such as industrial land development and trade agreements, that will, in turn, lead to private-sector job growth.”

The first study, Today More than Ever: Oregon and Portland/Vancouver Depend on International Trade and Investment, was completed in September 2013 by the Trade Partnership. It took a comprehensive look at the impact of trade on Oregon’s economy, businesses and workers.

Highlights of the first study include:

– The number of Oregon jobs tied directly or indirectly to, or supported by, international trade is estimated at 490,000.
– One in four Oregon manufacturing jobs is export-related.
– Wages for trade-related jobs average 18 percent higher than non-exporting jobs across all industries, with wage premiums as high as 40 – percent in select industries.
– Oregon trade-related employment grew 7.5 times faster than total employment between 2004 and 2011.
– Total value of imported and exported goods in 2012 was $42.2 billion.
– More than 90 percent of Oregon’s 5,000+ exporters are small businesses.

The second study, The Port of Portland’s Marine Operations, The Local Economic Benefits of Worldwide Trade, was completed in August 2013 by ECONorthwest. It looked at the local benefits of activities at both Port- and privately-owned/leased terminals in the Portland Harbor.

Highlights of the second study include:

– Some 18,000 jobs are supported by economic activities in the Portland Harbor (2011).
– Portland Harbor-related jobs are generally higher paying than the average wage employees earn in the Portland region, up to 60 percent more.
– Harbor-related businesses’ income in 2011 totaled $1.5 billion, with nearly the same amount ($1.467 billion) then earned by Portland-area – businesses and workers as a result of those businesses’ spending.
– Harbor businesses paid $140 million in taxes in 2011 to support state and local services.

The third study, Economic Linkages from Marine Industrial Businesses, was completed in August 2013 by One Northwest Consulting. It specifically explored the economic relationships between large marine industrial firms and small- to medium-sized businesses that serve as vendors and suppliers.

Highlights of the third study include:

– Amount the five marine industrial firms consulted for the study spent in 2011-12 to procure materials, equipment, and services was $1.29 billion.
– Projected aggregate spending by all such firms, based on this study was $6-7 billion.
– More than 50 percent of these dollars were spent locally/regionally.

Reports on each study, as well as a more detailed summary of the three, can be found at www.valueofjobs.com.

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