Portland is commonly referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly and greenest cities in the world. With a metropolitan labor pool growing at six times the national average, companies in Portland have a well-established recruiting base that includes deep pools of skilled workers across all industry sectors, notably in technology, software, clean tech, and active/outdoor apparel and footwear. In fact, a New York Times article said that Portland is where Millennials go to retire. As such, Portland has become the hub for innovation and a magnetic destination to acquire international talent drawing from the Bay Area, Seattle, and metropolitan regions from around the world. Many reports and articles suggest that Portland metro workforce has the lowest turn-over compared to other competing economic regions like the Bay Area, Seattle and Southern California.
Some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the Portland region include Nike, Intel, Adidas, Precision Castparts Corp., Daimler, Columbia Sportswear, FLIR Systems, StanCorp Financial Group, and Schnitzer Steel Industries. In addition, the Portland metro area hosts a range of unique and growing businesses, including microbreweries, micro-distilleries, and high-end coffee and food brands.
In 2015, Forbes Magazine ranked Portland #3 in the United States on its “Best Places for Business and Careers” list, for its remarkable growth, economic diversity, innovation and ability to attract the international workforce.
Portland Metro Area’s Largest Industries:
High tech: Portland’s high tech industry continues to grow, reaching a 12-year high in 2016. The software side of high tech has grown almost 50%, nearly doubling its size, within the last 10 years. High tech companies include Jive Software, Puppet Labs, and Jama Software. In fact, to rival the high tech region in the Bay Area known, as Silicon Valley, the Portland metro area hosts the Silicon Forest, which has become the rival tech, nestled within the Beaverton and Hillsboro area, and also includes a presence in Downtown Portland.
Software IT: The Greater Portland software industry continues to enjoy steady growth for more than 10 years, and also contributes to the growth of the Silicon Forest that rivals Silicon Valley in the Bay Area. The existing workforce within the software/IT industries indicate a robust talent base comprising of professionals from all over the world. Once Portland attracts the talent, it keeps it, and the greater Portland region has the lowest turn-over rate compared to many of its competing regions.
Athletic/outdoor apparel: Known as the athletic gear capital of the world, Portland is home to the highest number of large and small athletic apparel and outdoor recreation companies, which is inspired by the lush, serene and seasonal environment Portland is internationally famous for. Locally headquartered companies include Nike, Columbia Sportswear, the North American headquarters of Adidas, Icebreaker, Keen, LaCrosse Footwear/Danner Boots, Poler Outdoor Stuff, Wildfang, and Leatherman. Other internationally known brands include Nau, Lucy, Under Armour and Dakine.
Manufacturing: Greater Portland’s highly productive manufacturing workforce comprises of nearly 11 percent of Portland metro’s workforce with 107,000 jobs. In fact, the Portland metro area is a national leader in specialized areas of manufacturing, especially in high tech electronics and specialty metal fabrication. An example of this, is Precision Castparts Corp., a worldwide, diversified manufacturer of complex metal components and products.
International Wholesale Trade: The Port of Portland is the third largest export tonnage port on the West Coast, and manages import and export shipments of $15.4 billion annually. Portland is an ideal trading destination due to its easy access to the north/south and east/west interstate freeway system, international air service, and its west coast and intercontinental railroads make Portland a significant international distribution trading center.
Healthcare: In Greater Portland, and in nearly every major U.S. metro region, the healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in today’s economy. Healthcare is one of the largest job generators in Portland, and four of the top ten employers in the region are healthcare providers, including notable names such as Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health Services, Legacy Health, and Kaiser Permanente Northwest. As of 2014, the Portland metro area held more than 113,000 healthcare jobs, and revenue generated by traded-sector activities amounted to $1.9 billion.