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Portland Metropolitan Area (Or.) -- Economic conditions, Recessions -- Oregon, Employment -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Structural unemployment -- Oregon, Oregon -- Economic conditions -- 21st century


As the Portland-Vancouver economy emerges from recession, regional residents must come to terms with the realities of a restructured economy. The familiar sectors and industries upon which we based success in the past likely will no longer sustain us, at least to the degree they once did. We are simultaneously witnessing the rebuilding of an economy while suffering the symptoms of radical change. The slowdown that began in the Portland region in the summer of 2000 was caused, in part, by cyclical downturns in several of the region's key industries. As the region continues to recover, it will most likely undergo a structural change: tomorrow's economy will look different than it did when the recession began. This paper examines that change from three perspectives. First, we consider how the industrial mix in the Portland region has changed and how it relates to national trends in industrial restructuring. Second, we describe expected changes in the occupational mix of the Portland region's workforce. Finally, we take a closer look at several companies that have made significant changes in their business models within the last few years to adjust to market or technological changes. We conclude with several observations about the inevitability of change and the need for resiliency.

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