Ag missing from state export growth

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

Following a slowdown in that extended from the summer of 2012 through fall 2013, Oregon exports are now growing again. In dollar value, Oregon’s exports in the past 12 months are now just 2.5 percent below their all-time peak reached back in the summer of 2008 and are currently at a post-Great Recession high. [Data through May 2014 shows exports just 0.9 percent below peak levels on a 12 month sum basis.]


On net, the increased exports over the past year are entirely due to high-technology products, largely destined for Asian ports (63% of the gain) or Costa Rica (17%). Of course this masks over the changes in other industries. Strong gains in machinery, transportation equipment and food products were offset by declines in agricultural, chemicals and waste products. Even as agricultural exports are down slightly on the year, they have maintained their higher level than in the past, likely due to higher commodity prices in recent years.

Exports have increased to 20 of Oregon’s top 25 destination markets over the past year. However, in a broader perspective, nearly all of the gains in the past couple of years have been to China and Canada, Oregon’s 2 largest markets. Out of the state’s top 5 destination markets, however, only exports to Canada are currently at an all-time high.


Exports to China continue to be dominated by high-tech products, which are growing again, in addition to gains in machinery, chemicals and transportation equipment. Canadian exports are increasing with growth evenly split between metals and machinery and all other industries, including gains in high-tech and chemicals.


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