INDUSTRY CLUSTERS: THE ENGINE OF OREGON’S ECONOMY

Oregon’s economy is driven by traded sector industry clusters, concentrations of companies, competitors, and suppliers that specialize in particular products, services and markets. Traded sector companies are the heart of each cluster. They ring up sales outside of Oregon, bringing in fresh dollars that support families, local businesses, and government services. Essentially they are companies that export their products and services to other U.S. states and other countries around the globe. They are especially important to an economy because they create new wealth rather than just recirculating the wealth that is already here.

While the focus of the Oregon Business Plan is on traded sector industries, all businesses add to Oregon’s economic well-being. Local businesses — which make up the majority of Oregon enterprises — often support traded sector companies, add to the local quality of life, and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for citizens. They can also grow into traded sector companies as they expand sales beyond their location.

WHAT ARE “CLUSTERS?”

Industry clusters are geographic concentrations of similar and/or related firms that draw competitive advantage from their proximity to competitors, to a skilled workforce, to specialized suppliers and a shared base of sophisticated knowledge about their industry.

Clusters illustrate why place still matters in the global economy. Businesses thrive in particular locations because their network of local connections to a specially skilled local workforce and the availability of strong local suppliers in proximity to one another generates business advantages that cannot easily be imitated or competed away by low cost competitors. To learn more about Oregon’s industry clusters, click here.

Industry Cluster Session Summaries

Tech Industry Cluster Session

On September 29, panelists at the Technology Association of Oregon Tech Industry Showcase discussed the effects of current trends in technology, challenges and opportunities facing their industry, and recommendations for growth.

Aviation Industry Cluster Session

On October 8, at the Oregon Aviation Industry Cluster Session, six leading aviation organizations discussed the economic value of aviation in Oregon and the effects of the pandemic on their industry along with new opportunities and challenges.

Food and Beverage Industry Cluster Session

On October 29, industry leaders explored ways we can realize Oregon’s potential in the food and beverage industry while better supporting entrepreneurship and helping start-ups grow. Speakers also discussed opportunities to strengthen the industry by fostering connections across the cluster and nurturing diverse talent. Watch the full event video here.

Tourism Industry Cluster Session
On December 3, Travel Oregon hosted the Tourism Industry Cluster Session. Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson and Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association CEO Jason Brandt co-moderated the event. Industry representatives assessed the pandemic’s impacts on the tourism economy, the potential recovery trajectory, and what 2021 may bring. Watch the full event video here.

Industry Cluster Profiles

As part of its work supporting industry cluster awareness, development, and competitiveness, the Oregon Business Plan commissioned ECONorthwest in 2020 to develop profiles of some of Oregon’s most prominent industry clusters. Drawing on data from the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project, these profiles include the cluster’s status and growth rate in such categories as employment, number of business establishments, average wages, research and development spending, patents, and regional concentration.