Job Growth and the Tech Industry


In our latest update to GPP, we’ve added the 2016 data for job growth. The data comes from the Oregon Employment Department, and is separated into industry types we track in our job growth indicator.

Regionally high profit, high skilled, low employment manufacturing - like semiconductors and electronics - replaced low skill, high employment jobs in what we traditional think of with manufacturing. However, Intel’s decision last year to downsize and cut 15,000 jobs made a clear impact on the region’s electronic manufacturing employment. Well over 784 of those cuts happened in Washington County. As a result, we see declines of 2.2% in the region’s computer and electronic product manufacturing employment in the past year. This was paired with a 1.4% reduction in general manufacturing, and 2.2% reduction in durable goods.

Professional and business services includes computer systems design, management of companies, and administrative and waste services. This industry category saw the largest increase from 2015-2016, with a 3.9% change in industry employment. The software industry has long been a stronghold of the Portland metro. This also speaks to a larger trend of shifting away from direct product manufacturing as tech and other white-collar industries grow. Professional and business services outperformed health care and social assistance (3.5%) as well as Government (2.9%).

This can be understood in the big picture shift towards the "Internet of Things" the direction Intel chose to move in as it wound down microprocessor production. As topics like self-driving cars, and technology that still hasn't developed take root, overall employment continues to fluctuate while continuing to trend up.