2017 Economic Check-up: Prosperity and Productivity

March 2018


Prosperity & Productivity

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This category of economic indices measures output and productivity, income and traded-sector activity for all six regions. Portland-metro shines in median household income (MHI) growth and traded-sector activity as a share of gross metropolitan product (GMP) compared to other regions. While Portland ranks No. 2 among comparator regions in GMP growth per capita, it has lagged most comparators in terms of overall GMP growth for the last several years. Portland-metro trails Seattle and Austin in actual MHI, but the region led all comparator regions in MHI growth in 2016.The growth of MHI is a significant reversal of long-term trends. This is a positive sign indicating more equitable growth across low-, middle- and high-income households. On the other hand, Portland-metro still lags comparator regions and the U.S. metro average in actual and growth of per capita income, which reflects Portland’s relatively low high-incomes.


Seattle significantly outpaces all comparator regions for GMP per capita. Portland-metro performs well in this measure, ranking No. 2 among comparator regions at $62,606, and is closely followed by Salt Lake City and Austin. See Figure 6. Portland-metro’s actual GMP growth fell precipitously in the years following the recession and still trails most comparator regions, ranking No. 5 overall. See Figure 7.

(Hover over data points for more information.)


Portland-metro’s growth in household income is a bright spot, outpacing all comparator regions since 2010, with an impressive 6.9 percent increase from 2015 to 2016, though actual MHI still lags Seattle and Austin at $68,676. See Figure 8. The adjusted MHI reflects the buying power of incomes; only Portland-metro and Seattle show measurable downward adjustments in MHI due to cost of living. Nashville and Indianapolis, on the other hand, reflect a higher adjusted MHI due to a lower cost of living. See Figure 9. As it relates to per capita income, Portland-metro ranks fourth lowest of all comparator regions, at $50,489, and continues to lag the U.S. metro average of $51,075. See Figure 10. Though per capita income has seen an uptick since 2013, Portland-metro has not grown at the same rate as most of the comparator regions. See Figure 11.

( Hover over data points for more information. Slide to view more charts.)


This economic indicator is where Portland-metro shines, ranking No. 1 among all comparator regions in manufacturing as a share of GMP, which leads the pack at a remarkable 25 percent. See Figure 12. Indianapolis and Portland-metro stand out among comparators as manufacturing powerhouses, with much of Portland-metro’s manufacturing share attributed to the electronics and semi-conductor industry. Additionally, Portland-metro ranks No. 2 in international exports as a share of GMP. See Figure 13.

(Hover over data points for more information.)