PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As businesses move forward from the pandemic, some industries are seeing growth with no signs of stopping.
The newest Portland Business Alliance study looked at the economic impact of industries like athletics, outdoors, teams and recreation — and their strength in greater Portland, as well as Eugene and Bend.
Despite the pandemic, many in those industries are thriving.
From catching a game at Moda Center to renting a kayak on the Willamette, areas involving the outdoors, athletics, teams and recreation in the greater metro are seeing continued economic growth, even as the state moves forward after two years of the pandemic.
“There’s no question that we’ve faced a lot of challenges but what’s so incredible about this region is we are resilient, we are recovering and we’re here to tell a story that this is how we’re going to recover, by doubling down on the assets that we believe in, by the things that are our strength,” said Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance.
The Portland Business Alliance worked with HR&AAdvisors to look at where businesses in these industries — some of the strongest in the state — stand, both before and after the pandemic. They found the most activity in fields like sporting goods and apparel, athletics and outdoor recreation, along with a trickle-down effect to services like fabric mills, marketing and even physical therapy — and why they do so well here.
“Their ongoing attraction to the region because of the talent base that’s here, because of the training systems that are here, because of the quality of life that’s here,” said Kate Collignon, a partner with HR&AAdvisors. “Sustaining those kinds of competitive advantages that the region offers is going to be really important.”
Before the pandemic, businesses in greater Portland, as well as Eugene and Bend, saw job growth of at least 56% with the most in goods and apparel, while others started strong but tapered off after 2020.
“The big drop-off took place in events and recreation, really those kinds of uses that were mostly impacted by closures and the need for social distancing,” said Collignon. “The rest of the industry has really already recovered and are seeing new job generation, so the recovery of those recreation uses that we expect to come back, but still need that support.”
The report also found when compared to other cities in the region excelling in these industries like Seattle, Salt Lake City and Denver, Portland had a more even distribution of jobs and more high-skilled, high-wage positions with leaders like Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear.
“What we design, the world wears, and we need to tell that story, not just to ourselves, and assume people know about this but to people who need to hear about it,” said Hoan. “Future workers, future households, potential companies and investors need to be aware this is the unparalleled capital of this ecosystem, this economy.”
The 2022 State of Sport also found more than $976 million of tax revenue came into Portland, and on the job front, the regional workforce is growing at six times the national average.