This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 10, 2012 9:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Covered reservoirs not safe, either. The next post in this blog is 'Couv dude really doesn't like election porn. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, August 10, 2012

Breaking news: Portland economy is doing great

And this reporter ate some excellent mushrooms while he was here:

Portland’s benefited from the fact that some of its local enthusiasms—bicycles, food carts, microbrews, artisanal whatnot—have become more popular nationally, giving a boost to some growing local companies.* The Portland area has also benefited from the region’s green proclivities. Renewable energy has been a growth industry nationwide, and Portland is home to the North American base of Germany’s SolarWorld and Denmark’s Vestas, one of the world’s largest wind-turbine manufacturers.

Whatever, son.

Comments (24)

New motto: Portland-the city of Artisanal Whatnot.

What a great name for a band!

Bookmarked for later reading. I know this particular writer's modus operandi -- state economic falsehoods in smarmy fashion, reinforce the thought with more smarminess, then top it off with still more smarminess. He's basically "Hipster Krugman."

Yglesias drives me nuts. A journalist who reports on business for awhile and now thinks he's an economist.

Exactly the sort to crow "Vestas is here!" without doing any follow up on its actual impact.

Portland really isn't a place where young people go to retire, it's a place where young people go to waste their youth, their time, and their trust funds.

I saw the headline and was ready to snark too but to his credit, he does back it up with some data:


How reliable are these numbers? How many people have dropped completely out of the labor force as a result of the bad economy? How many are employed but under-employed?

It's also hard to argue with this paragraph:

"But attributing Portland’s recent success to its unique nature is probably just as misleading as was the tendency to do the reverse a decade ago. The truth is that local economies are buffeted by an awful lot of luck over the short term. Portland is one of several places that were hit unusually hard by the bursting of the technology stock bubble—Intel is the state’s largest employer. Port cities in general seem to experience unusually severe business cycles, since global shipping ramps up and down much faster than the economy as a whole. Relatively strong performance today is not so much a new thing as a return to form—Portland had a better-than-average economy in the 1990s, too. What’s coming through today are strong underlying fundamentals. Über-hip Portland and its supersquare opposite, Washington, D.C., are probably doing well for the same underlying reason. Portland has an above-average share of college graduates and a below-average unemployment rate. The D.C., Boston, and Minneapolis areas have even more college graduates and even stronger local labor markets."

"Different kinds of urban planning fads come and go, and different local industry mixes are sometimes beneficial at different times. But over the long term, cities are first and foremost made up of people."

Could you possibly spout more meaningless blather?

The percent of facts per pull it out of your arse pontification goes in the minus range.

"Portland Mayor Sam Adams, to his credit, has put a lot of emphasis on reducing the city’s dropout rate"

That's the funniest line of the whole damn article. Show your work, Yglesias.


I'm curious about the unemployment numbers as well, they're fairly convincing. I can't think of a reason why Portland would have a larger percentage of people who have dropped out of the labor force or who are underemployed, but even if it were the case I doubt it would drive us significantly below average.

Some people drink the kool-aid, others make it. Yglesias falls into the latter category.

"Portland Mayor Sam Adams, to his credit, has put a lot of emphasis on reducing the city’s dropout rate"

There may be more than one kind of "dropout rate!"

I would like to add that to his credit, we have had this influx of people tailored to the agenda. I wonder how many people on his staff have worked to this end result and with our money to entice people into our city as I suspect another dropout rate would become evident how wrong the city's direction is. The dropout rate I am referring to are the people who are leaving, can no longer afford to live here or refuse to live under the "behavioral directives!" In my opinion then new ones must be enticed or brought in to fill the gap.
This can be done with various magazine articles, organizations and so forth and works well to help fill up those apartment bunkers and for the bicycle industry here.

Until last year, I lived in inner SE Portland for many years and met many, many young people in their 20's, most of whom had just gotten off the stagecoach from someplace else.

In the past 6 years alone, although most were ecstatic about being here, about being in a place where they felt other young people thought like they did and believed in the same things that they did, at the same time almost all complained about their crappy job or their inability to even find a crappy job, or fretted over how much longer they could even remain.

The number of young women who were supporting themselves or their families by working nights in our numerous strip clubs was appalling, in and of itself.

Yeah, booming all right... if you like making pizzas, lattes, sleeping on other people's sofas, or getting naked in front of strangers.

The author probably got hold of some good weed while he was here, or got laid.

The local unemployment rate may have dropped slightly, but jobs created by our creative hipster economy are not the type that pay wages sufficient to buy a house, support a family, and save for retirement.

He also uses metro area numbers. In Portland itself, things are not picking up.

Being already familiar with Yglesias's gibberish on previous articles, I found it interesting that the closest he got to actual numbers was quoting BikePortland propaganda. Isn't quoting BikePortland on business issues like asking Jeffrey Dahmer for vegan recipes?

Once upon a time, the manufacturing industry in Portland made things that, when sold, would leave a profit in this area. Many of those companies have left Portland. Guess why the went away.

Once upon a time, the manufacturing industry in the United States made things that, when sold, would leave a profit in the country. Many of those companies went to India, China and places where the labor market is far cheaper with less regulation.

Manufacturing is not coming back anytime soon with the exception of a few niche luxury high quality markets.

But at least you can still buy cheap things at Walmart that will need to be replaced within the next 5-10 years guaranteed right? Replacement = more revenue and profit! Why make something quality? Fischer Price learned that lesson long ago (kids are still playing with those 70s era toys of mine, good luck finding anything today that will last childhood plus 30 years without breaking).

Has Sam been mentoring more at-risk youth?


I'm not a big Bojack fan because of the constant negativity, but give him credit on this one: Yglesias took a badly misleading comparison, added some some glib speculation, and ended up with a complete work of fiction. I don't know if he drank too much microbrew or figured he had to pay it back to the folks that brought him out here.

The misleading comparison is between Portland and the US as a whole (what you list as his 'facts'). First, the whole argument is based on the minor uptick in PDX compared to the nation in the last six months. He ignores the fact that the PDX economy has consistently underperformed the nation for a decade.

BUT that's not the worst part. He makes a much more egregious error. Is the correct comparison between Portland and the US? Or between Portland and other similarly situated metro areas? I'd argue other metro areas, given what Yglesias points to as the economic engines.

Re-run the graphic, including lines for King County (Seattle), Travis County (Austin), Salt Lake City, and throw in DC for good measure. (Go to the root URL and you can add lines).

You'll see the reality--compared to our urban competitors for the young and creative class, we frankly stink. Our unemployment is a good 3-5 points higher than each of these other urban areas.

This is a terrible article by Yglesias. Just terrible.

RE: jobs created by our creative hipster economy are not the type that pay wages sufficient to buy a house, support a family, and save for retirement.

Even worse, the income level is not sufficient to pay a fair share of taxes to support the city of Portland or the state of Oregon.

Anyone want to take a guess at what the average pay is for this Portland segment, and whether they are net consumers of public benefits or if they pay more than they consume.

because of the constant negativity

When the city is being managed with any semblance of competence, my disposition might improve.

I'm not trying to be mean here, but I am having a hard time remembering any Yglesias pieces that were good journalism, or even adequate.

Every. Single. Time I read an article by the kid, it is fraught with aimless speculation (as Paul G pointed out above), errant interpretation of data and horribly deduced conclusions.

Why is he writing for all of these high-profile magazines at all? I honestly don't understand it.

Portland has become the place for the young hipsters to come and find a menial part time job, for the most part retire here and creatively have the taxpayers subsidize their lifestyles. Portland has also become a place where the occupiers come to camp out on City property also costing taxpayers, while the mayor stands by and does little to nothing except to give lip service to their cause and total up the monetary damages. Such a false economy!

Has Sam been mentoring more at-risk youth?

Depends upon whether you consider Yglesias a "youth".

Clicky Web Analytics