Thanks to Oregon’s coastal location, many of its products — from computers, electronics and transportation equipment to agricultural and wood products — have access to valuable foreign markets. Asian countries are a major source of foreign demand, and growth in exports to Canada and Mexico has recently reshaped the state’s customer base. Still, the value of Oregon’s foreign-bound goods, more than $12 billion in 2005, was much smaller than that of regional shipments. In recently released data for 2002, the state’s $103 billion domestic market dwarfed the $10 billion value of foreign shipments in the same year. The concentration of Oregon-sourced goods in the Northwest is even more striking: Products that moved around the state and to Washington, California and Idaho represented three-quarters of the state’s domestic shipment value in 2002. Of course, both foreign and domestic markets are important to the state’s economy. But the state’s domestic customers usually garner little attention because domestic shipments data are rarely available.
— Emily Stuart, economist
Oregon Employment Department