STATEWIDE Oregon’s manufacturing job growth slowed but remained ahead of the national average for 2007. Industrial employment increased a half percent over 2006, adding 1,103 jobs, according to the 2008 Oregon Manufacturers Directory. That’s compared with a jump of 1.3% from 2005 to 2006.
The biggest gains were made in the food products sector, which saw a 6.6% increase in employment.
Dave Zepponi, president of the Northwest Food Processors Association, says some of that growth can be attributed to a clustering strategy the industry has been developing in Oregon over the past five years in an effort to address increased international competition. One such cluster is located in southwest Oregon, where manufacturing employment rose 1.5%, adding 783 jobs, according to the study.
Bolstered by the state funding last year of $3.5 million to establish the Northwest Food Processors Innovation Productivity Center in Portland, the food products sector should remain strong in 2008, Zepponi says.
“There’s growth in the food industry,” he says. “You’re never going to see huge growth, but we’re very consistent, and even through recessions, we grow.”
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