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|Wednesday, January 11, 2012|
BY PETER BELAND
Following the national trend, Oregon’s manufacturing sector saw modest employment gains last year after more than a decade of decline aggravated by the Great Recession. According to the Illinois-based trade publication Manufacturers' News, Oregon gained 903 jobs between October 2010 to October 2011, an increase of 0.5%. Though some industries saw losses during that time period, electronics and other large industries buoyed the sector. But competition from China and the growing sense that the European Union — a large export market — is on the verge of a large recession remain obstacles going forward.
Oregon’s natural resource-based manufacturing industries saw both gains and losses. According to the Oregon Labor Market Information System, Oregon’s state labor statistics office, employment in the primary metals sector grew by 5%, with an 18% increase in wages totaling $21 million. The lumber industry lost workers last year due to the continuing weakness of the housing industry.
“This particular recovery has been different … from other recoveries because housing has still not recovered. However, manufacturing has recovered, led by exports and demand from products outside of housing,” says state labor analyst David Cooke. Oregon still has “access to necessary inputs which are: land, labor, capital, energy, infrastructure [and] trade avenues,” he adds.
All of these factors combined with Oregon’s long history in electronics manufacturing and demand for its products led to a 1.6% employment increase in that industry. And if Intel’s $4 billion investment in plant upgrades in Hillsboro is any indication, they’re here to stay for a while. Yet not all companies are as confident. “Those kind of decisions [to stay or leave] can be company specific, it just depends on the fortunes of specific companies and the decisions they have to make,” says Cooke. For example, semi-conductor manufacturer Hynix shuttered its Eugene plant in 2008, taking with it 1,400 jobs.
Despite the growth in the electronics industry, an influx of state-subsidized products produced by cheap labor in China is putting pressure on American electronics manufacturers to stay in the black. In this climate, green-energy companies SoloPower and Perpetua Power Source Technologies are expanding their presence in Oregon. Industry leaders are worried about the advent of protectionist trade wars between China and the United States over American protests of China’s subsidization of its solar and poultry industries, which led China to impose punitive charges on American imports.
“I remember in the ’90s when people were projecting that the electronics industry would keep going [from 30,000] to 60,000 or 70,000 people,” says Cooke on the limitations of predicting industry trends. One thing is for certain: “One key factor that will have an impact on the economy is the diminishing petroleum supply,” says Cooke.
Peter Beland is an Oregon Business contributing writer.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Friday, June 06, 2014
BY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
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