What Are The Biggest Industries In Oregon?

Skyline of Portland, Oregon.
Skyline of Portland, Oregon.

Oregon is the twenty-seventh most populous American state that is situated in the Pacific Northwest region of the country. Oregon is the ninth biggest state in the United States, which occupies an area of about 98,381sq miles.  Oregon is surrounded by Idaho, Nevada, California, Washington, and the Pacific Ocean. River Snake delineates a considerable percentage of its eastern border with Idaho while River Columbia delineates its border with Washington. Portland is the largest and most populous city in Oregon, followed by Salem (Oregon's capital city).

The Economy Of Oregon

The economy of Oregon was based on natural resources (agriculture, fishing, and timber) until the 1980s when it was hit by hard times. Therefore the state government attempted to transition Oregon's economy from one based on natural resources to an economy based on a mixture of numerous industries including high technology, services, and manufacturing. The state government's efforts resulted in the growth of the high-tech industry in Oregon. The high-tech bust of the 2000s resulted in the state losing over 43,000jobs. However, the construction sector added 21,000 jobs during the same period. Currently, Oregon's economy is made up of numerous sectors. 

Oregon's GDP increased by 2.7% from 2012 to 2013 ($219.6billion), making it the twenty-fifth wealthiest U.S. state. Oregon had the seventeenth highest median-household income in the country in 2015 at $60,834. Oregon was ranked twenty-sixth in the country by GDP in 2008. The state’s PCP (per-capita-personal income) grew by 1.5% from 2012 to 2013 ($39,848). Oregon has the third-highest number of food-stamp users in the country. The unemployment rate of Oregon was 3.9% in November 2019, representing 83,265 unemployed people.


Oregon's diverse sceneries provide ideal terrains for numerous types of farming. The agricultural land-base of this state includes cropland, rangeland, and pasture. Oregon is the leading producer of loganberries, blackberries, raspberries, and peppermint in the United States. Willamette Valley produced more than 100million pounds of blueberries in 2016. The valley owes its fertility to Missoula-Floods which deposited sediments from Lake Missoula on its floor. Oregon is one of the top hazelnut growing regions on the planet. Oregon farmers produce over 95% of the American hazelnuts. Oregon had the third-highest number of wineries in the U.S. in 2005. The type grape planted in Oregon is the same variety as the ones thriving in the French regions of Burgundy and Alsace.

The commercially cultivated cranberries in Oregon account for over 7% of the country's production. Cranberries are the twenty-third most important agricultural commodities in Oregon. Cranberries are grown in 27,000acres in the northern Curry and southern Coos counties. Both dryland and irrigated wheat is grown in the northeastern parts of Oregon, particularly in Pendleton. Oregon ranchers and farmers also produce poultry, eggs, dairy products, sheep, and cattle.  

Fishing And Forestry

Vast forests have made this state one of U.S. leading logging and tree producing states. However, over-harvesting, forest fires, and lawsuits over improper management of the forests have affected timber production in Oregon. The number of timber harvested in federal lands reduced by 90% from 1989 to 2011, while the harvest-levels have remained constant in private land. Even the recent shift to finished products like building materials and paper has not stopped the decline in forestry. The reduction in the production of timber in Oregon has affected various previous lumber company towns like Gilchrist. Despite the reduction of Oregon's forestry industry, this state still leads in softwood production in the country. Oregon produced over 4,134million board feet in 2011. The decline in the lumber sector has caused a high unemployment rate in the rural parts of Oregon.

Even though ocean fisheries have lower river fisheries in the last few years, Oregon still has one of the world's biggest Salmon industries. Since most wild shellfish and salmon population has declined a considerable percentage of the shellfish and salmon harvested in this state are farm-grown. Other fishes that are harvested in Oregon include rockfish, ocean perch, tuna, and flounder.


Tourism is one of the leading industries in this state, which is centered on Oregon's natural features, including lakes, beaches, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, and forests. Some of Oregon's natural features include the Painted Hills, Multnomah falls, Crater Lake national park, Mount Bachelor, and Mount Hood. Oregon is home to one of the oldest Zoos west of River Mississippi. Some of the attractions found in the coastal parts of Oregon include Fort Clatsop in Warrenton, the Sea Lion Caves, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.


Oregon supplies over 10% of the lumber in the United States. During the late twentieth century, forest-product manufacturing accounted for over 33% of the state's economy. Oregon introduced numerous metal-related industries like fabricated metals, primary metals, and transport equipment after the Second World War. However, these industries were surpassed by the High-technology sector during the late twentieth century. The high-technology sector produces electric equipment, instruments, and machinery. The high-technology companies that are situated in Silicon Forest have been the leading employers in Oregon since the 1970s.

Tektronix was the leading high-technology firm in Oregon until the late 1980s. The creation and expansion of Intel's facilities in Washington County continued the development of a high-technology industry that had been initiated by Tektronix. The startups and spinoffs produced by Tektronix and Intel resulted in the creation of Silicon Forest. The headquarters of Nike Corporation has been in Beaverton since the early 1970s. There are numerous datacenters in Oregon that take advantage of the region's climate and cheap power. Amazon built its datacenter in the region in 2011 while Facebook opened its datacenter in 2010. 

Mining And Energy

In terms of value, gravel, construction sand, and stones make-up a huge percentage of Oregon's mining output. Quarrying occurs everywhere in the state, but high quantities of mined produced are obtained near urban regions. The production of natural gas at Mist-Gas Field in the northwestern parts of the state is also crucial to Oregon's economy. Hydroelectricity supplies over 66% of Oregon's electricity. Bonneville Dam has provided hydroelectric power in this state since the 1930s. Other significant sources of electricity in Oregon are coal and Natural gas.


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