A recent article in the Portland Tribune focuses on Portland’s young, college-educated residents—also known as the creative class—and asks if they are Portland’s economic saviors or just slackers. Many in the creative class do not spend years in the labor force, but rather alternate a few months at a time between employment and leisure. The article quotes John Tapogna, President and Senior Policy Analyst at ECONorthwest, who notes that “living on less might be feasible, or even admirable, for Portland’s young creatives, but it has a price tag for everyone else.”
In a forthcoming report for the Portland Business Alliance and the Value of Jobs Coalition, ECONorthwest is tackling the issue of why young, college-educated residents of Portland work less and earn less than their counterparts in other U.S. cities.
In the article, Tapogna puts forward one theory, which holds that “car-sharing, bike commuting and collective living are all part of a large-scale, new emphasis on less materialistic living among young adults. If Millennials truly are the cheapest generation, as a number of economists have suggested, Portland’s young creatives might not become the job creators on whom the city has been banking.“
ECONorthwest’s research will update an annual series on the economic opportunities and challenges for Portland-metro. This year the report will also address Portland’s progress in the wake of the recent recession.
Read the 2011 Portland Regional Economic Health report on the Value of Jobs Coalition website.
Other contributors to the report include Bryce Ward, ECONorthwest senior economist who specializes in economic analysis, modeling, and urban and labor economics; Terry Moore, ECONorthwest planning director who specializes in land use and transportation planning; and Paul Thoma, economic analyst, who specializes in statistical and econometric analysis and applied microeconomics.