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Food manufacturing: steady over time

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Over the past 50 years, Oregon's food manufacturing sector has employed no less than 20,000 and no more than 26,000. Back in 1958, food manufacturing employed 20,800 and comprised 4.4% of the state’s total nonfarm payroll. In 2007, the activity employed 22,500, comprising just 1.3% of the state’s total nonfarm payroll. Food manufacturing tends to weather economic slowdowns and recessions fairly well. Consumers may postpone other purchases, but they have to eat, even when the economy is not doing well. Oregon’s food manufacturing sector is spread throughout the state. Combined, the Portland and Salem metro areas represented 58% of food manufacturing employment in Oregon and 60% of the state’s total employment in 2006. In rural areas, the industry often makes up a larger percentage of the workforce. Umatilla, Morrow and Tillamook counties account for 15% of the state’s food manufacturing employment. However, these three counties hold less than 3% of the state’s total employment.

PAT O’CONNOR
WorkSource Oregon Employment Economist

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