Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership helped create or retain 14,000 jobs since 2002

New report from PSU researchers concludes the non-profit has a “large, positive effect” on manufacturers

Portland, Ore. – In its first decade, the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) has helped manufacturing companies add or retain thousands of jobs and pump millions into the Oregon economy, according to a new report by the Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) at Portland State University.

OMEP consultants work with managers and business owners at small- to mid-sized manufacturing firms to identify improvements that will help them reduce costs, increase sales and expand into new markets. Researchers found that from 2002-2013, OMEP’s work with manufacturing firms supported:

  • Employment: 14,153 jobs through direct and indirect employment
  • Value Added: $1.12 billion in wages and benefits paid to employees, property-type income and other items; comparable to gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Production Output: $2.1 billion in total goods
  • Funding for local and state governments: From 2011 to 2013 alone, OMEP’s work supported economic activity that provided $11.2 million in taxes and fees

For Oregon’s manufacturing sector, where wages and benefits are higher than the state average, those numbers represent real workers—and solid paychecks—in urban and rural counties. From 2012 to 2013, for example, OMEP activity directly supported 376 jobs that would not otherwise have existed, and indirectly supported an additional 265 jobs, according to NERC.

“It’s gratifying when an independent organization confirms what manufacturers have been telling us: OMEP is helping firms across the state compete in an increasingly global economy, and job creation is a big part of that,” said Chris Scherer, OMEP president. “We receive $250,000 each year in state funding, but our efforts are worth millions to Oregonians and the Oregon economy.”

OMEP sought out independent organizations to analyze its economic impact. A third-party survey company asked firms that have worked with OMEP consultants to quantify the economic activity that resulted. NERC Senior Economist Jeff Renfro and his team used the data and specialized software to isolate, as much as possible, the economic activity that would not have occurred without OMEP’s involvement.

While Oregon’s large technology manufacturers grab most of the attention, “smaller firms such as metalworkers and bakeries can produce large numbers of new jobs, particularly when given technical assistance,” the report says. In 2012-13, OMEP activity helped support jobs in many manufacturing sectors: food, wood products, non-metallic mineral products, and plastics and rubber products, among other areas.

OMEP, which is part of a national network of similar organizations, receives federal, state and private funding to support its work with manufacturers. OMEP’s current state allocation translates to $46 per year for each of Oregon’s 5,380 manufacturing firms. The NERC report notes that, while the amount of state funding for OMEP should be weighed against other state priorities, “the size of the (manufacturing) sector suggests that there is unmet need for OMEP’s services.”

For a copy of “Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership: An Economic Impact Analysis” from the Northwest Economic Research Center, please go here:

About NERC
The Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) is based at Portland State University in the College of Urban and Public Affairs. The Center focuses on economic research that supports public-policy decision-making, and relates to issues important to Oregon and the Portland Metropolitan area. NERC serves the public, nonprofit, and private sector community with high quality, unbiased and credible economic analysis. For more information, visit www.pdx.edu/NERC

About OMEP

OMEP is a not-for-profit team of business and manufacturing professionals – one of more than 60 Manufacturing Extension Partnership resource centers nationwide – that aims to make Oregon companies more competitive. OMEP provides Lean Enterprise training/implementation assistance and industry-driven best practices to a wide variety of industry sectors. A partner of choice for the economic development community, OMEP’s emphasis on strengthening and transforming companies creates a ripple effect of positive sustainable impact on the business, the workforce and the community. For more information about OMEP, please find us at www.omep.org.

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