Region’s GDP rose 4.7 percent in 2010

Portland-area growth beats U.S. average

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor



A government report released Tuesday says the Portland-Vancouver region’s gross domestic product climbed by 4.7 percent in 2010, putting the region far above the 2.5 percent average increase for all of the nation’s metropolitan areas.

The region’s gross domestic product in 2010 was $124.7 billion, an increase from the recession-dampened $118.8 billion in 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said. Even with that one-year decline from 2009 to last year, the gross domestic product increased by an average of 2 percent a year between 2007 and 2010, noted Scott Bailey, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department. That’s better than the average for all the nation’s metropolitan areas, which dropped slightly in that three-year period, he said.

The GDP growth for the Portland region, which includes Clark and Skamania counties, was 45th in the nation in three years, while the Seattle region was 155th in GDP growth, Bailey noted. While those numbers look good, “I take them with a little grain of salt because the reality doesn’t seem so good,” he said. The unemployment rate for the Portland metropolitan area is hovering around 10 percent, while Clark County’s rate for June was 12.3 percent.

Nationally, gross domestic product as measure by metropolitan area increased 2.5 percent in 2010 after declining by the same percentage in 2009, the federal bureau said. It found that 304 of 366 metropolitan areas experienced increases in gross domestic product. Among the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, the three with the fastest real GDP growth in 2010 were Boston, up 4.8 percent; New York, 4.7 percent; and Washington, D.C., 3.6 percent.