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.


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.

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.