Oregon Employment Department: Food Manufacturing a "Staple of Oregon's Economy"

Food manufacturing is a key part of Oregon's agri-cluster, as our new report shows. Freshly released statistics from the Oregon Employment Department further demonstrate just how important, and stable, food manufacturing is for Oregon.

The most important characteristic of Oregon's food manufacturing is its stability. As OED Regional Economist Pat O'Connor writes in the December 2013 issue of Oregon Labor Trends, this stability holds even in turbulent economic times:

From 2007 to 2012, Oregon’s total employment declined 5.3 percent. During that same period of time, Oregon’s manufacturing sector shed 15.8 percent of its jobs. In contrast, Oregon’s food manufacturing employment managed to grow 7.8 percent from 2007 to 2012, bucking the trend of large employment losses experienced by the rest of the manufacturing sector during the recession.

O'Connor goes on to note that food manufacturing comprises a significantly larger part of Oregon's total employment than is seen nationally, with 1.5 percent of nonfarm employees working in food processing, compared to just 1.1 percent nationally.

Food manufacturing is especially important to eastern Oregon, where 16 percent of food processing jobs are located among just 4 percent of the state's overall private employment. But the Willamette Valley, including the Salem metropolitan area, also benefit from food manufacturing, especially frozen manufacturing. 

The food manufacturing industry is also expected to grow considerably in the coming decade, with an additional 2,300 jobs projected by 2020.

Food manufacturing is a key sector of Oregon's "agri-cluster," which overall supports one in eight Oregon jobs and generates over $20 billion in annual economic activity. Our new report, Great & Growing, explores just how important this industry is to Oregon. Read it here.

Read the new issue of Oregon Labor Trends, including detailed stats about Oregon's food manufacturing industry, here. (PDF)