PORTLAND The current economy might be sinking, sucking down jobs and incomes with it, but at least one group is bullish on future employment growth.
Greenlight Greater Portland, a private economic development group, in concert with Global Insight, an international economic analysis firm, predicts that the greater Portland-Vancouver area will create 100,000 new jobs in the next five years.
“We have a bullish view of the Pacific Northwest,” says Jim Diffley, a managing director with Global Insight, because he says knowledge workers are attracted to the area, and businesses will follow the workforce they need. The growth areas include:
Professional and business services: 32,000 new jobs, for a total of 170,300. That includes adding 2,000 jobs between 2007-2008.
Financial services: 8,500 new jobs, with a slight decline seen in the next year, but rebounding in 2009.
Information services: 2,000 new jobs, a growth rate “second only to Seattle’s.”
Construction and natural resources: This sector is projected to lose about 2,700 jobs through this year, but rebound in 2009 and grow by 7.2%.
Other sectors with significant jobs gains, according to Diffley, will be trade and transportation (15,000); education and health (10,000); government (8,000); and leisure and hospitality (5,000).
The analysis also predicted that the gross regional product would grow 29% to $144 billion in the next five years, which it noted was higher than for cities such as San Jose, Seattle, Denver and Albuquerque.
The findings, issued in a report in June, also noted that the region added 88,000 jobs from 2002-2007 — more than in San Francisco, San Jose and Denver combined. The sectors that contributed to that included 17% from professional services, 17% from education and health services, 17% from construction and natural resources, and 4% from manufacturing.
Global Insight also provides analysis for the state, which in late May issued its most recent revenue forecast, saying revenues were stable: In the upcoming biennium, the state should have $17 billion in tax and lottery money to spend. At least until the effects of skyrocketing fuel and food costs kick in, just in time for the next forecast.