WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Employment growth is a general indicator of a region’s economic vibrancy. Region-wide averages of job growth, however, sometimes fail to identify specific challenges and problems because job growth does not occur evenly across industry sectors. Job growth is a coincident or lagging indicator of the state of the economy because workers are hired as and after the economy improves and are laid off as and after the economy deteriorates. In addition, not all sectors of the economy lose or gain employment at the same rate. Some industries are, by nature, more cyclical than others, some are countercyclical, and some recessions disproportionately affect certain populations or certain sectors (like the dot-com bust in 2001–2003).[i] In the past, the economies of both the Portland MSA and Oregon have been very cyclical. Attracting and growing diverse sectors can stabilize the economy,[ii] and targeted investments in education and training can help prepare the public to enter growing employment sectors.[iii]
[i] R. Javalgi, P. Todd, and R. Scherer, “The Dynamics of Global E-Commerce: An Organizational Ecology Perspective,” International Marketing Review 22, no. 4 (2005): 420-435.
Harry Holtzer, “The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: What has the Evidence Shown?” Urban Studies 28 (1991).
[ii] E. Malizia and K. Shanzi, “The Influence of Economic Diversity on Unemployment and Stability,” Journal of Regional Science 33, no. 2 (1993): 221-235.
[iii] R. Blundell, L. Dearden, C. Meghir, and B. Sianesi, “Human Capital Investment: The Returns from Education and Training to the Individual, the Firm and the Economy,” Fiscal Studies 20, no. 1 (1999): 1-23.