PORTLAND -- It seems you can't turn around in Portland without seeing some type of construction.
Construction, in fact, has now become the new driving force in the economic turnaround.
Manufacturing was the leader, helping to get things back on an even keel after the great recession, but now the Oregon Employment Department’s December report says construction is leader of the pack.
All over the metro area projects big and small are underway. Much of them are apartments being built to house the influx of young professionals moving to the region.
All the construction helped create some 4,400 jobs in 2013. Those kinds of jobs represent almost 30 percent of all jobs created in the region in November. These are well-paying jobs that are helping to bring down the unemployment rate in the region to 6.7 percent. That’s lower than the national average.
“It shows good long term confidence in the economy and the region,” said Christian Kaylor, a workforce economist. “People, as individuals, are willing to bet that Portland's doing well as a place they can settle, get a job and raise a family in.”
Other employment growth areas over last November include professional and business services, retail and health care.
Manufacturing had some of the slowest growth, especially high-tech manufacturing.
What’s also changing is how people get to work. The latest numbers from the report finds car commuting is down in Portland from 64 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2012.