Business Climate

Place matters. Talented people with unique skills and innovative ideas want to carry out their business vision in a place that provides an economic ecosystem that supports strong growth. But, they want to do so in a great place to live.

In Oregon, we don't need to manufacture our own attractions. We have a breathtaking public coastline. Striking mountain peaks. River gorges. Lush forests. High desert. These are core assets that also provided for the birth of Oregon's economy through natural-resource based industries.

Today our economy is as diverse as our landscape. Our state economy is a collection of unique regional economies. Semiconductors, manufacturing, wood products, aviation, food products.

Right now across Oregon those diverse regional economies are driving record employment levels along with the second-best Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and personal income growth in the country. Oregon's location along the Pacific Rim provides easy access to foreign markets, particularly between the U.S. and Asia. Portland International Airport has been ranked #1 U.S. airport by Travel + Leisure for four years in a row.

US map showing compound annual growth rate in chained 2009 dollars; Oregon is 2.5%+, the largest amount of change category.

Industry Strength

Oregon has a diverse manufacturing base with an emerging high-wage creative sector. Anchored by the strong high-tech presence, Oregon's innovation culture is impressive. Oregon ranks 6th in patents per worker and 9th in business R&D spending.

Currently experiencing a tech boom, both hardware and software sectors are growing strongly. The software industry is 2.5 times more concentrated in Oregon than other states.

While many diverse industries are thriving in Oregon, Business Oregon identified these top growing industries within the state where we focus programs. These are separate from areas like agriculture and tourism that are addressed by different agencies.

Competitive Costs

Low Business Taxes

Oregon has the lowest effective tax rate of all states for FY2014, at 3.3%. Our business tax rate has been ranked in the top five lowest effective tax rates for the past five years by Ernst & Young. Oregon has no sales tax, and corporations that operate in Oregon, but sell goods in other states, pay corporate income taxes based solely on company sales within the state of Oregon. Learn more >>

Oregon offers globally competitive incentives, like property tax abatements, income tax credits, and others that encourage business expansion. Learn more >>

West Coast Low Cost Leader

Due to Oregon's ability to harness hydropower, Oregon's energy costs are among the lowest industrial rates in the U.S., averaging less than six cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Oregon's average industrial electricity rates are half those of California, with a more stable supply.

electricity rates: industrial and commercial; Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and California
natural gas rates: industrial and commercial; Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and California

Oregon is a national leader in usage and promotion of renewables for businesses and consumers.


Oregon's Commitment to Renewable Energy
US Rank
Hydroelectric Generation (thousand MWH) 31,253,851 2nd
% Electricity from Renewable Sources 68% 5th
# Renewable Polices and Incentives 109 4th
Installed Wind Capacity (MW) 3,153 8th
Sources: Energy Information Administration, 2015, AWEA, 2015, and DSIRE, 2016

Workforce

Oregon has the 7th lowest workers' compensation cost in the US at $1.28 (per $100 in wage), well below the national median of $1.84.

State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) Corporation; for new employers
More about Workforce >>

Despite housing boom, Oregon is still the far cheaper cost of living option compared to California and Washington.

Business Oregon

We celebrate all that growth and success, but also recognize there's a continued need to create opportunities for prosperity for all Oregon communities, particularly rural areas of the state, and we will use the talent and programs we have available to do just that.

Business Oregon's role is to assist in the retention and expansion of existing Oregon businesses within traded sectors (industry sectors with global competition). We carry out strategies to create a dynamic startup and entrepreneurial environment so new business can form. And we will recruit companies outside the state as well, to come to Oregon and fill supply chain gaps and grow existing industry clusters.

Business Oregon also manages infrastructure finance programs through its infrastructure division, with a separate Infrastructure Finance Authority Board that oversees these infrastructure investments. These programs are available to local municipalities for water systems, wastewater systems, port development, some roads, and other infrastructure needs that serve as either a precursor for business development or meet other community needs.