KGW: Portland economy slowing down, PSU report shows
Author: Rachael Rafanelli, KGW
Posted: May 15, 2018

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After nine years of economic expansion and job growth in the Portland metro area, economic and population growth are slowing, according to a new report from Portland State University.

The findings were published in a report released Tuesday by PSU's Northwest Economic Research Center.

The numbers aren’t a surprise for Tom Potiowsky, Director of the PSU center.

“It’s sort of a senior citizen stage of expansion that we're in,” he said. “We’re finally reaching that point where we might say we are at the ‘full belly level’. Can we really grow any faster? It’s really tough once you start to reach full employment.”

Portland’s red-hot housing market is starting to cool down, Potiowsky said. The consequence of that, he believes, is a lack of affordable housing.

Affordability is a big factor for renters, as well. The study shows many people are moving away from the city to find better prices. At the same time, rents in the area are starting to plateau, according to Potiowsky. One reason for that is more options for renters.

“We finally have more multi-family housing available in the area. A lot of building happened,” he said. “At the same time, the rents were going up very rapidly, and so I think with that greater supply, with the affordability aspect, that starts to put a lid on where rents can go. So we've seen that rise of rents really slow down."

Potiowsky said across the counties in the Portland metro area, the study still shows strong job growth with wages starting to increase, not just for higher income occupations but across the board.

“There are great opportunities out there. If you have a 25-year-old living in the basement? Kick them out now,” he said. "There are jobs available for them."