Oregon Exports Continued Strong Growth in 2022
Oregon exports have grown quickly over the past four to five years. In fact, while the state experienced recession at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw exports out of the state accelerate. Much of this acceleration was due to the high demand for semiconductors the past several years, which is one of Oregon’s primary exports.
Exports are a larger share of Oregon’s economy than the national average with total exports in 2022 representing 14.5% of GDP compared to 10.3% nationally. As a coastal state this is not too surprising, as Oregon’s access to international markets is far greater than most states. Over the past 10 years, exports as a share of GDP has been declining nationally; however, Oregon has seen the reverse with a modest uptick in exports relative to gross output.
Exports out of Oregon have outpaced statewide employment and payroll. This tells us that an increasing share of exports are passing through Oregon rather than being produced in-state. Businesses exporting their goods through Oregon ports contribute to the regional economy, however Oregonians would realize more of these export gains if those producers were located here in Oregon.
Oregon Export Highlights
$33.9 billion in exports in 2022; an increase of 13.4% from levels in 2021.
Oregon had the 3rd largest export value per capita in 2022, trailing only Texas and Louisiana.
Oregon’s largest trade partner continues to be China, accounting for $8.4 billion in exports in 2022.
Exports to China were down in 2022 compared to levels in 2020 and 2021. However, they remain above pre-pandemic levels in 2019 by 16.7%.
The pace of export growth out of Oregon grew dramatically during the pandemic. Oregon exports grew by over 31% in 2022 from levels in 2019.
Oregon’s export growth exceeded the national average with national exports growing 25% between 2019 and 2022.
2023 has continued to see export gains with year-to-date exports through February 2023 around 2% higher than where we were at this point in 2022.
Semiconductors and other electronic components rank as Oregon’s largest export industry accounting for $11.4 billion in exports in 2022; roughly 1/3rd of all Oregon exports.
Semiconductor and other electronic component exports continue to grow with total exports up 9.1% in 2022 from 2019 levels. However, the pace of growth is slower than the statewide average for all exports during that same time (+31%).
Other large export industries include industrial machinery ($3.5 billion in 2022 exports); motor vehicle parts ($2 billion); engines, turbines, and power transmission equipment ($1.7 billion); and pesticides, fertilizers, and other agricultural chemicals ($1.5 billion).
The fastest growing export industry is motor vehicle parts where total exports from Oregon only totaled around $73.5 million in 2019 but surged by 2022 to over $2 billion.
It is important to note that transportation equipment manufacturers in Oregon (the broader industry that includes motor vehicle parts) posted employment declines of over 14% in Oregon since the onset of the pandemic. As a result, we can assume that most of the export growth in motor vehicle parts is likely passing through Oregon and not originating in the state.
By by Damon Runberg, Business Oregon Economist