With Oregon's unemployment rate hovering at 12%, we all know who is cutting back: pretty much everyone. So who's hiring? Who is going to pull us out of this mess?
We at the magazine are constantly on the prowl for gems of optimism buried beneath the refuse of our state economy. We've found some great quirky success stories: landfills, urban chickens, guns and foreclosures, to name a few.
But quirk will only take you so far. Where are the Oregon companies that will create jobs over the next year? What follows is a first draft of a top 10 list. If I'm missing anyone big or hyping someone unrealistically, call me on it.
1. Oregon Iron Works/United Streetcar/United Barge - Regardless of how you feel about the utility of urban streetcars, you have to like the outlook for the company that will be building them and creating jobs in Clackamas.
2. SolarWorld - Germany's fastest-growing company is expanding in Hillsboro. I don't see a downside.
3. Laika - Where would Oregon be without Phil Knight's money? His son Travis, pictured left, is ready to ride the 3-D wave after the lucrative debut of Coraline.
4. Brammo - Craig Bramscher, CEO of this Ashland start-up building electric motorcycles, has been cherry-picking talent from the wreckage of Detroit. Next step: cranking out the bikes.
5. Slayden Construction - This Stayton public works construction firm should start snapping up contracts once the stimulus money begins flowing.
6. New Seasons Market - A new Hawthorne store is the latest coup for Brian Rohter and his team.
7. Genentech - The biotech giant wants FDA approval for its Hillsboro facility by 2010. That means jobs.
8. Tripwire - While the rest of the economy was crashing in the fourth quarter of 2008, this Portland software firm was boosting revenues by 27%. Hiring and expanding, with an eventual IPO a distinct possibility.
9. Sanyo - The Japanese giant is building a solar factory in Salem and plans to hire 200 people.
10. Portland Energy Conservation, Inc — There's always a market for better efficiency, and this Portland outfit has been in the game for 30 years. Last time I checked they had 23 job openings.
So who did I miss? Super tech startups creating great new mobile phone gizmos? Oregon energy giants like PGE and BPA? Niche ag and retail players? All of the above? (If only.)
And who deserves the boot?
Ben Jacklet is the Managing Editor of Oregon Business.