Oregon’s Manufacturing Sector Growing

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s economic output grew 4.7 percent in the past year. That means it’s the second fastest-growing state in the country.

Economic experts credit durable goods manufacturing for a good chunk of that growth.

The computer electronics industry makes up 85 percent of that.

But it doesn’t mean other sectors aren’t growing.

Ridgeline Pipe Manufacturing is experiencing its busiest year yet.

“(The years) 2009 and 2010 were really difficult years for all kinds of companies like ours,” said Ridgeline Pipe President Jeff Sherman.

When Sherman started Ridgeline Pipe Manufacturing in 2008, he had no idea it’d take a few years for things to stabilize.

But now he says demand has grown–30 percent in 2011 and another 15 percent in 2012.

Director of the Oregon Economic Forum Tim Duy calls that pent-up demand.

“Coming out of the recession, some of that demand there supported some rapid growth rates,” said Duy said.

Certain sectors are benefiting from that. Commercial and housing production primarily influences Ridgeline Pipe.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve hired eight manufacturer employees, and in the last year about 15 or so–and that’s all just to keep up with straight demand,” Sherman said.

Still, Duy says the report should be read with caution.

“It’s not that other sectors aren’t growing. We’re sort of thinking about that outsize growth. Is Oregon really growing at the second-fastest pace in the nation?” Duy said.

Duy doesn’t see the growth rate continuing at this pace and hopes it will spread over all sectors.

Ridgeline Pipe says, at the moment, it can hardly keep up with demand. Managers hope that continues.

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