Earlier this month, Metro released its anticipated Urban Growth Report. One of the main topics covered in the report is the four UGB expansion proposals currently being considered by Metro Council.

In addition, the report also covered some other interesting topics. In a previous post, we outlined Metro Council’s views on “Where we stand today with housing“. In today’s post, we will be sharing some interesting points from Metro Council on “Where we stand with jobs.” Be sure to share in the comments your thoughts on Metro’s assessment of Greater Portland’s current jobs situation.

Metro Urban Growth Report – “Where we stand today with jobs”

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Portland Oregon

    Ascending out of the Great Recession, our regional economy is the envy of many others, as educated, working-age people continue to migrate here in increasing numbers.

  • This is providing local employers with a steady pool of skilled workers while also attracting employers in other regions to consider locating here.
  • With a strong 4.6 percent increase in a measure of regional economic activity called gross domestic product (GDP), greater Portland had the 10th-fastest growing economy out of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.
  • Job growth in the greater Portland region exceeds the national rate of job growth.
  • In 2015, our region’s jobs increased by 3.3 percent while the nation saw a 2 percent increase.
  • Manufacturing plays an outsized role in our economy, as more than a quarter of greater Portland’s economic output comes from the manufacturing sector.
  • Nationally, manufacturing accounts for less than half that – just 12 percent of the nation’s total economy.
  • Manufacturing accounts for just over a tenth of greater Portland’s jobs.
  • Thanks largely to production of high-value products such semiconductors and electronics, the manufacturing sector contributes an oversized amount to the regional economy relative to its share of the workforce.
  • Employment and GDP – Portland Oregon – Click to enlarge

    But despite its strong contribution to the region’s economy, jobs in the manufacturing sector stagnated in 2016.

  • By December 2016, the industry had lost 1.4 percent of its Portland-area jobs relative to the year before.
  • Still, the large profit margins of the region’s high-tech manufacturing exports means that the sector’s earnings are substantial, even as the size of the manufacturing workforce is somewhat stagnant.
  • However, most jobs are in population-serving and other non-manufacturing employment.
  • As in the past, a large portion of future employment is expected in sectors that serve the public, such as education and medicine, professional and business services (insurance agents, real estate agents, and bankers, for instance) will continue to make up much of our region’s employment.
  • What all of these sectors have in common is that they need to locate close to clusters of where people live. From a growth management perspective, this means that the needs of these sectors are best met in existing urban locations.
  • Middle income jobs were slow to recover from the Great Recession. Though they have picked up over the last couple years, low and high wage jobs have fared much better, both during and after the recession, leading to increasing wage polarization.
  • Employment by Subarea – Portland Oregon – Click to enlarge

    The polarization trend is expected to continue in the future for the region and the U.S. as a whole, in large part due to globalization and technological change.

  • However, employment continued to grow during and after the recession in several middle wage occupations that are primarily driven by population and demographic change, including healthcare support workers, police officers, and teachers.
  • As we plan for future employment, we need to be aware of changes in where businesses locate and how they use space.
  • Nationwide, there has been a trend of businesses relocating from more remote campus settings to downtowns.
  • Businesses are doing this to attract and retain an educated workforce that wants access to urban amenities like restaurants, bars, cafes and transit.
  • In the greater Portland region, these trends are evident as the highest rate of job growth in the region from 2007 to 2016 was in central Portland at 18.4 percent growth.
  • With this trend our workplaces look different than they used to. Workers are taking up less space, and in many professions, it’s no longer private offices but lap tops and chairs.
  • Among the increasing ranks of the “gig economy” (self-employed), work space can be co-working space that is leased by the hour or a seat at a coffee shop for the price of coffee refills.
  • In the medical sector, health care providers are following their patients. They see future demand for outpatient clinics close to where people live.
  • The “non-store retailers” category includes catalog and internet-based businesses that fulfill orders by mail as well as other non-store vendors.
  • This retail trend has implications for other sectors in the greater Portland region. Shipping and delivery employment grew by 31 percent over the same period, while warehousing employment grew nearly 9 percent. E-commerce’s focus on quick deliveries means that demand for space is often in close-in locations.

Dates to remember (subject to change)

  • July 3, 2018: Metro releases Urban Growth Report, with analysis of the existing growth boundary, growth trends and expansion options.
  • Sept. 4, 2018: Metro’s Chief Operating Officer recommendation.
  • Sept. 12, 2018: Metro Policy Advisory Committee recommendation to the Metro Council.
  • Sept. 20 and 27, 2018: Metro Council public hearings and direction to staff.
  • Dec. 6, 2018: Metro Council public hearing.
  • Dec. 13, 2018: Metro Council decision on growth boundary expansion.