Prior to the current recession, the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) showed strong employment growth relative to the United States as a whole. Employment growth in the Portland MSA was very strong from mid-2003, as we recovered from the last recession, until May of 2008, when employment peaked before beginning a decline that would last through 2009. The region was hit harder by the recession than similar MSAs. In the past two years, however, employment numbers in the MSA have increased and, in 2011, annual average employment increased by 1.1 percent.
Between October 2011 and October 2012, there was positive growth in total non-farm employment in five out of seven counties in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA. Multnomah County experienced the highest growth at 1.9 percent, followed by Washington County and Clark County, both of which experienced growth of 1.8 percent. Yamhill and Skamania Counties experienced negative growth in total non-farm employment during this period.
Just five of the nine core sectors in our MSA experienced growth in the number of employees between October 2012 and October 2012. Manufacturing grew more than any other sector, with an increase of 3.7 percent, followed by retail trade which increased 2.4 percent. Health Care and Social Assistance decreased 0.3 percent and Government decreased 1.2 percent.