Providence beats Intel as Portland area's biggest employer
A new ranking of Portland-area companies based on the number of people they employ put Providence Health & Services at the top for the first time, surpassing Intel.
Why it matters: While employment numbers at any company can rise or fall depending on many factors, identifying big employers also helps paint a picture of trends and needs in the region.
Details: The biggest employers list is put together annually by the Portland Business Journal.
- While Intel was "the unchallenged leader of labor in the metro-area" for decades, PBJ data editor Brandon Sawyer wrote, it faced recent challenges, including layoffs, and saw no change in its overall employee number — 22,328 — this year.
- Meanwhile, Providence added staff — in part due to the pandemic — and increased employee rolls by 17% over last year to 23,100.
- Oregon Health & Sciences University ranked third, with 19,603 employees.
Between the lines: PBJ draws on public data when available for the rankings and also surveys private employers.
- PBJ also expanded the geographic area where it tracks employment this year, adding three more rural counties to the four that make up the region's urban core.
- Providence's hospital in more rural Yamhill County may account for part of its rise on the list.
Be smart: If the planned merger between OHSU and Legacy Health goes through, the new entity would be the largest regional employer by as many as 10,000 employees.
The big picture: Strong companies can help build local industries, in what's called the cluster effect, Bret Marchant, director of data and research at Greater Portland Inc., tells Axios.
- "A company may know they can succeed here because other companies like them are here and are able to access talent" or industry-specific expertise, Marchant said.
- He pointed to Nike, whose presence helped spawn a larger shoe and outdoor apparel industry here, as a prime example.
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