Portland’s ‘weird economy

As one reporter states, Portland, OR has a weird economy.

Portland proper’s population grew 22%, more than neighboring San Francisco (7.3%) or Seattle (11%). The city’s 2.2% job growth in the past year tops San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York and Minneapolis. Downtown homes are going for seven, even eight figures. Yet Portland has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country.

What’s going on?

The easy answer, as highlighted in the full story here, is that people are moving to Portland faster than the jobs can keep up with. What this means on the micro scale is that people are moving to the city, then looking for a job, which is atypical. Shows how much the jet set values the city’s quality of life.

However, because Portland is so desirable, it’s suffering a bit from gentrification on a massive scale: not very diverse, not very affordable, and unless someone figures out a way to provide a lot more desirable affordable market-rate housing (see Charlotte, that unemployment rate won’t be shrinking anytime soon. Why? Fast-growth companies can’t afford all those gentrified salary expectations.

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