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|Wednesday, December 07, 2011|
BY LINDA BAKER
Portland’s urban peers aren’t quite who we thought they were. That’s one of the takeaways from a new metro area economic study released yesterday by the Value of Jobs Coalition. With its vibrant restaurant scene, strong planning ethos, and well-educated population, Portland likes to compare itself favorably to Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver, creative-class havens noted for their livability. But when measured by economic factors such as personal income, the cities we most resemble turn out to be decidedly less glamorous: the Rust Belt towns of Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Forty years ago, Portland’s personal income was comparable to the aforementioned three cities. But since then, Portland has charted a separate, and downward, path. As the graphs below illustrate (excerpted from the report), personal income for Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis currently exceeds expectations for metro regions of their size. By contrast, Portland metro’s personal income is nearly 2 percentage points below what would be expected given its size. All told, Portland lags 16% to 21% behind Seattle and Denver in terms of average income.
Enter Cincinnati and St. Louis, cities that are losing population but apparently have something in common with Portland besides their rivertown status. According to the Value of Jobs study, all three metropolitan areas have similar per capita personal income, and that amount falls below what one would predict for cities of their size.
The three metro areas share another dubious achievement: an unemployment rate hovering between 8.6 % and 9.0 %. Minneapolis and Seattle have unemployment rates of 6.4% and 8.3% respectively. In an earlier report from 2010, it was noted that the Portland-metro area does not "notably out-perform our peers on 'compensating' characteristics such as cost of living or quality of life." The follow-up 2011 report does not address this issue.
By likening ourselves to creative-class cities that have weathered the recession relatively well, Portland denizens seem to be engaging in a bit of magical, or at least aspirational, thinking. A reputation for livability does not put us in the same class as a Seattle or for that matter, an Austin — metro areas with flagship research universities, diversified economies and in some cases, major government employers to help keep their economies afloat.
Next week’s Oregon Leadership Summit will focus on a variety of job and wage growth strategies to help bring us in line with our aspirational peers. Recognizing who our real urban contemporaries are will be an important first step.
Linda Baker is the managing editor of Oregon Business.
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
By MEGHAN NOLT
VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY MEGHAN NOLT
VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.
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