The Northwest's new economy
When the Pacific Northwest's timber and aerospace industries started declining, some people predicted the region would become the next Appalachia. Instead, the region is thriving, says University of Montana economist Tom Power, whose conclusion is endorsed by 34 other Northwest economists. Growth in earnings, employment and population in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington has surpassed the rest of the nation for the past decade. As tens of thousands of aerospace, agriculture, timber, mining and fishing jobs have disappeared, high-tech design and manufacturing industries and a variety of service jobs have emerged to create a more diversified economy. Decline in natural resource industries, Power adds, has come from fluctuating international markets and technological developments that have raised productivity and reduced the need for workers. But his report, Economic Well-Being and Environmental Protection in the Pacific Northwest, warns that growth will continue only if the region's quality of life remains high.
Copies of the free 19-page report are available from Tom Power, Dept. of Economics, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812 (406/243-2925).
* Dustin Solberg