PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland's employment prospects are not too rosy right now.

A coalition of Oregon business groups commissioned a study that found Multnomah County ranks nearly dead last in five western states in terms of private-sector job creation between 1997 and 2009.

More:EcoNorthwest study

The group ranked MultnomahCounty 198th out of 199 counties. And when it comes to wages, Portland didn't fair much better. The study found since the 1970's wages in the metro area have been falling. Since 2007, they were 16 percent to 21 percent lower than our peer cities of Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis -- a $10,000-a year difference.

The report also looked at affordability.

There were a few bright spots in this economic health check up. Small business creation here ranks number 10 out of the 50 states, creating some 51 percent of the jobs. And international trade continues to improve.

The coalition will meet in January to begin finding answers to turn Portland's economy around.

When you measure the cost of living here, especially against key factors like housing against our wages and income, Portland proves to be one of the least affordable communities in the west, Portland Business Alliance chair Roger Hinshaw said.

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