Every county in northwest Oregon has been hit hard by the pandemic recession.
Business restrictions and closings affected all counties; the travel industry, vital to the coast, has seen an unprecedented decline in business and employment; and Oregon State University in Benton County ended face-to-face tuition. So it’s no wonder that the gross domestic product in 2020 fell in all five districts compared to the previous year.
Northwest Oregon County’s gross domestic product is a key indicator of the economies in Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, and Benton counties.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of goods and services produced in an area and is an important economic indicator.
Columbia County has seen more modest GDP growth over the past 10 years. Columbia County’s GDP declined in the years following the Great Recession before recovering in 2015. Since 2010, it’s up 5.9% in real terms, a profit of $ 344 million. The growth was entirely due to the private sector, which grew nearly 12%. State GDP declined 21% in Columbia County. Services, particularly professional and business services and healthcare, drove GDP growth. The construction also grew r -idly in the 10 years. Manufacturing GDP fell from 2010 to 2020.
Clatsop County’s employment also had solid GDP growth during the recovery from the Great Recession, and it was also hit hard by the pandemic recession. Clatsop County’s GDP grew by $ 437 million from 2010 to 2020, resulting in overall inflation-adjusted growth of 4.7% for the reporting period. The district’s growth came primarily from its private service sector. Clatsop County’s retail and wholesale trade, healthcare, and professional and business services contributed in large part to the count’s GDP growth.
Tillamook County has the smallest GDP in the region, but it led the way in GDP growth (26%) from 2010 to 2020. However, Tillamook County couldn’t esc -e the pandemic. GDP contracted by 5.1% from 2019 to 2020. Most of Tillamook County’s GDP growth from 2010 to 2020 came from the private sector. Output in both manufacturing and professional and business services more than doubled during the reporting period. Retail production increased by a third. Although the county has the smallest GDP in the northwest, its growth resulted in an increase in nominal production (+ $ 427 million) that was greater than that of Lincoln or Columbia counties and almost equal to the increase in Clatsop Counties. Pretty impressive.
During the Great Recession, Lincoln County’s GDP declined six out of seven years from 2006 to 2013. Adjusted for inflation, it took until 2016 for the county’s GDP to surpass 2006 levels. The pandemic then hit Lincoln County very hard; The county had an unemployment rate of over 20% for two months when its travel industry coll -sed. The county’s inflation-adjusted GDP was as much as 5.2% lower in 2020 than it was in 2010 during the Great Recession, even though nominal GDP rose by $ 302 million. Real private sector GDP declined by 7.7% over the 10 years.
Some industries in Lincoln County grew. Retail grew 28% in real terms and professional and commercial services grew 12%. In construction, finance, leisure, hospitality and manufacturing, the real value of their production fell compared to 2010.
Estimates by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that Benton County’s GDP grew by nearly $ 1 billion from 2010 to 2020. Adjusted for inflation, this led to real growth of 8.7%. Employment in Benton County had been on a strong growth path for years until the pandemic. The effective shutdown of Oregon State University resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and GDP fell 2.4% in 2020. The county has still not fully recovered.
Benton County provided 42.5% of the region’s GDP of $ 11.2 billion in 2020. Benton County’s high public sector employment provided a level of stability during the pandemic, and real government GDP grew 12.4% in the 10 years to 2020. The private sector’s GDP grew by 7.7%. The main private sector industries that contributed to growth included professional and business services, retail and healthcare.
The BEA estimates the gross domestic product at district level.
Erik Koder is a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department. He can be reached at 541-351-5595.