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Northwest Economic Research Center Publications and Reports

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Publication Date



Economic indicators -- Analysis, Economic conditions -- Oregon -- Portland Metropoltan Area, Housing -- Oregon -- Portland Metro[politan Area

Physical Description

1 online resource (44 pages)


A new entry for the record books: Portland MSA employment expansion is the longest on record, having surpassed the 1990’s expansion last September. And we now sit in October and are one month shy of a decade of job growth. While the length of this expansion is impressive, if we compare the same length of time (9 years and 9 months) of this expansion with that of the 1990s, jobs increased by 33.6% in the 1990s while increasing 24.4% in the 2010s.

The Portland MSA recorded the 4th fastest percentage gains in household income in the country from 2007 to 2018. This long expansion has also benefited the population across the board— regardless of age, sex, race, and income status, all subcategories have, on average, seen economic gains. We do need to recognize that while this is good news, these gains have not been equally distributed, and higher-income households witnessed the greatest gains.

Clues as to how long this expansion will continue seem to be out of our hands here in the Portland MSA. Signs of global economic slowing, a national manufacturing slump, and geopolitical risks around the world abound, including one in Washington, D.C. NERC is not bold enough to forecast a recession. Our bottom line outlook is for near-term slower economic growth, with a heightened risk of recession.

One of the benefits of a long economic expansion that has been a bit elusive here has been affordable housing. Our feature article takes a close look at affordable housing and reasons why our metro area demonstrates this gap of availability.


NERC is based at Portland State University in the College of Urban and Public Affairs. The Center focuses on economic research that supports private and public policy decision-making, and relates to issues important to the Pacific Northwest and the Portland Metropolitan Area. NERC serves the public, nonprofit, and private sector community with high quality, unbiased, and credible economic analysis. Dr. Tom Potiowsky provides expert research direction and forecasting expertise. Peter Hulseman is NERC’s Senior Economist, and is responsible for model design and data management. Economist Emma Willingham designed this report and contributed to research, and additional support was provided by Katelyn Kelley and Hoang The Nguyen. All parties were involved in writing and review. Special Thanks to our Technical Advisory Committee, whose expertise informed this report: Josh Harwood, Josh Lehner, Jeff Renfro, Amy Vander Vliet, and Michael Paruszkiewicz.

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