Portland Business Alliance releases its annual State of the Economy report

Portland Business Alliance releases its annual State of the Economy report

This annual update on the state of our region’s economy, led by the Alliance in partnership with ECONorthwest and presented by Bank of America, marks yet again an unprecedented moment. 

For more information, please contact:
Vanessa Briseño at [email protected].

On Wednesday, February 16, the Portland Business Alliance (Alliance) released its annual State of the Economy Report, reflecting that enduring pandemic impacts, a deepening affordability crisis and Portland’s reputational challenges continue to hinder the region’s growth and overall prosperity.

This year’s report takes a closer look at what happened over the course of 2021—using trusted economic indicators—and measures Portland in comparison to other U.S. “peer” cities using the latest data available. The report highlights: growth and recovery trends in the most affected industries, promising diversity trends, lack of downtown commercial and visitor activity, and a comparative cost of living analysis for the Portland Metro area. This information is designed to help our region better understand the impacts of the enduring pandemic, reputational challenges, soaring housing costs and growing tax bills on our local economy.

“For far too long, our region has assumed that demographic and economic growth was a given,” said Portland Business Alliance President & CEO Andrew Hoan. “The sentiments of the region’s residents and this economic report reveal those assumptions are no longer valid, and point to one conclusion: we are at an economic crossroads. Policy and elected leaders must pivot away from complacency and urgently collaborate on all levels of government to retain and attract employers and households if we hope to fulfill the economic promise of this incredible place.”

Key Report Takeaways: 

  • 3.4% unemployment rate in Portland metro, as of Dec. 2021
  • -13.5% – Jobs lost in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, a rebound from 50.7% during the pandemic’s peak
  • 72% decline in Downtown Portland foot traffic since before the pandemic, compared to 42% decline in visitor foot traffic
  • 32% increase in racial or ethnic diversity across Portland’s population, since 2010
  • Clark County is growing nearly as fast as Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties combined
  • $94,000 – Earnings needed for a household of two adults, two children to achieve self-sufficiency in Portland
  • +3.5 percentage points – Portland exceeds Seattle’s tax burden by 3.5 percentage points for a family earning $75,000
  • $72,633 – Median household income, adjusted for cost of living, second lowest among peer regions
“This report underscores the urgency of the moment for Portland,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America President for Oregon and SW Washington. “It’s time for our leaders in government, business and community to sit at the table to confront the serious challenges our residents and businesses face every day and create an inclusive roadmap to achieve the results we all want for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.”  


The Portland Business Alliance – Greater Portland's Chamber of Commerce – was founded in 1870 and is the leading voice for business in the region. The Alliance represents the largest, most diverse business network in the region, bringing together nearly 1,900 dynamic members, and advocates at all levels of government to support commerce, community health, and the region’s overall prosperity.

“ECONorthwest is an independent economic consulting firm. Since 1974, we have worked with a variety of public and private clients across the country, offering economic perspectives on issues ranging from wildfire recovery to education inequities and affordable housing. Our clients have one thing in common – they want insightful, rigorous analyses to strengthen policy and investment decisions.”

Bank of America:
“At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).” For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts