Clackamas County lost 951 jobs to offshoring since 2017
Trade-related job loss has hit Clackamas County particularly hard according to new analysis of United States Department of Labor data published this week by the Trade Justice Education Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based research and labor advocacy nonprofit.
Analysts from the Trade Justice Education Fund recently compiled and reviewed data from the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, the mechanism through which unemployment benefits are provided to a subset of workers that the U.S. Department of Labor certifies them as having lost their jobs to direct offshoring or displacement by imports.
According to their review, Oregon is the state most affected by trade-related job loss with an increase of 114% between 2017-2020 totaling 11,396 jobs. In a single year, between 2018-2019, Oregon experienced a 147% increase in trade-related job losses.
"The numbers don't lie. Things aren't getting better, and we have to stop pretending there isn't a better way to handle trade to benefit workers and communities," said Hillary Haden, executive director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. "Oregon is hemorrhaging more and more jobs to offshoring week after week, with devastating effects on the state's working families, our communities and our economy."
According to the report, all corners of Oregon have been affected by trade-related jobs loss, but Clackamas County specifically has seen some of the highest numbers over the past three years. In total, 951 jobs have left Clackamas County since 2017 due to offshoring.
These jobs were located in communities such as Clackamas, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, West Linn and Wilsonville.
"The Trade Adjustment Assistance program is fantastic, but there's no substitute for a stable, consistent job," said Jon Irvine, state workforce liaison for Oregon AFL-CIO. "When Oregon's jobs are shipped overseas, there's less money for people to spend at local businesses, less tax revenue for our schools and other public services, and there's also a very real downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the jobs that are left."
According to a release from the Trade Justice Education Fund, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is incentivizing offshoring of Oregon manufacturing jobs because it created significantly lower tax rates for firms that move production outside the U.S.
"If a U.S. company paid a 21% corporate tax rate on profits from goods made in Oregon, their income earned offshore would be taxed at only 10.5% rate," Haden said. "That's a major incentive for corporations to move production to other countries."
Haden said that the Phase 1 U.S.-China Trade Deal signed in January also made it safer — through protecting intellectual property and stopping technology transfer — for large corporations to move jobs out of the country.
"The government needs to stop adopting these pro-offshoring measures and it needs to get serious about putting the interests of working families at the center of our trade negotiations," Haden said. "We should protect existing jobs in Oregon, build new markets for Oregon goods and services, and lift wages at home and abroad with trade policies that mandate strong and internationally recognized labor and environmental standards and have enforcement mechanisms."
951 total jobs lost in Clackamas County since 2017:
• ADP, LLC, Clackamas, April 18, 2017 — 37 jobs
•Vesta Corporation, Lake Oswego, July 8, 2019 — 90 jobs
• Autodesk, Inc., Lake Oswego, June 30, 2017 — 59 jobs
• CMG Mortgage DBA CMG Financial, Lake Oswego, Dec. 19, 2018 — 46 jobs
• Thomson Reuters (Tax & Accounting) Inc., Lake Oswego, Dec. 21, 2018 — 118 jobs
• Steelhead Manufacturing, Lake Oswego, April 2, 2019 — 56 jobs
• OECO, LLC, Milwaukie, May 18, 2017— 79 jobs
• West Linn Paper Company, West Linn, Oct. 23, 2017 —277 jobs
• Streamline International, Wilsonville, March 24, 2017— 100 jobs
• Microsoft Corporation, Wilsonville, Aug. 2, 2017 — 142 jobs
• TE Connectivity, Wilsonville, Nov. 21, 2019 — 17 jobs
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