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Oregon's Export Industry Lags Nation In Recovering From Recession

But 2014 Data Trending Better; Exports Remain Major Segment of State Economy

LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new economic analysis finds that since the recession, the recovery of Oregon's export industry has lagged the recovery in the nation, and as a result, the state's share of total U.S. exports has declined. According to the analysis by Beacon Economics, from 1997 to 2008, the decade prior to the downturn, average real growth for exports was nearly 7% annually in Oregon and just over 4% in the U.S. overall. Since the recession ended however, Oregon's export growth has averaged just 2% annually compared to 3% in the U.S. as a whole.

The report, which culls and examines data from the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, says the sluggish recovery has led Oregon's share of total U.S. exports to fall from 1.5% in 2008 to 1.2% in 2013. As of 2013, Oregon's real exports remain 12.5% below their previous peak level, set in 2008. Oregon's lackluster performance in recent years is due in large part to reduced demand for personal computers. Semiconductors from Intel Corporation are one of highest valued exports for the state, and as the popularity of smartphones and tablets has increased demand for PC chips, particularly from China, Oregon's largest trading partner, has dampened.

But the news is not all grim. In 2014, the trends have turned more positive. During the first five months of 2014, Oregon's exports started to surge and have increased in real terms by 14% over 2013 exports (year-to-date). This also eclipses national export growth, which was just 3.3% over the same time. These trends are especially important because Oregon's export trade industry represents a significant component of the overall economy, accounting for 9% of total economic output in the state (without multiplier effects), according to the analysis.

The study's two lead authors, Beacon Economics' Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg and Senior Research Associate Eric Meux, say the future outlook for Oregon exports is also rosier. "Today, the U.S. dollar is 25% cheaper relative to the currencies of our trading partners than it was 15 years ago—this means the U.S. export sector is as competitive as it has been in a very long time," says Thornberg. "For Oregon, where trade plays a major role in the economy, this will be an important source of growth and economic development as the global economy continues gaining traction."

Additional key findings include:

  • From 2010 to 2011, real exports declined by 8.4% in Oregon, following a 14% increase from 2009 to 2010. Real exports then ticked up slightly in 2012 (+0.3%), and grew modestly in 2013 (+2.2%).
  • Over the long-term, Oregon export prices have trended very closely with prices of exports in the U.S overall. In recent years however, export prices have been higher in Oregon, indicating that export firms in the state are able to achieve higher profits.
  • The post recession slowdown in Oregon's export trade is primarily due to weakness in the state's top commodities. The number one commodity, computer and electronic products, has averaged 1.3% annual growth since 2009 compared to an average 12% annual growth prior to the recession. Oregon's second top commodity, agricultural products, has averaged -6.6% annual growth since 2009 and averaged -0.2% annual growth prior to the downturn.
  • The value of Oregon's exports to China jumped 448% over the past decade.

Download the full analysis here.

SOURCE Beacon Economics

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