On Friday at ADX, the Portland Made collective celebrated national Manufacturing Day with a party featuring remarks from Earl Blumenauer, Jules Bailey, and Nick Fish, followed by a presentation of a survey taken and analyzed by Charles Heying, Ph.D, who you likely remember as the author of Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy. (The survey was based on Portland Made members responses, along with supplemental data from RefUSA.)
Part of an ongoing effort to create metrics that account for the economic impact of the city's small manufacturers—metrics that can attract investment and influence legislation—here are some highlights:
• 83% of enterprises have been in operation 10 years or less, 63% five years or less.
• Three have been in operation for 30+ years and produce 90% of revenues and 70% of jobs: "The lesson is not to ignore the numerous small young enterprises but to nourish them. Two (2) of the three (3) large enterprises, that have such an outsize impact, were started in small studios by founders trained in the arts, with a passion for their craft and the ability to turn that passion into something substantial."
• "When enterprises reach the threshold category of $500,000-1 million in revenues, they make a dramatic shift from part time to full time employees. Below that revenue threshold, the balance between part time and full time employees is roughly equal. Above the threshold, the ratio of full time to part time is fiveto one (5:1)."
• "Respondents reported very positive revenue growth with an average of sixty-one percent (61%) cumulative for the last three years... Enterprises with revenues of $50-100,000 report nearly doubling of size over the last three years."
• "As expected, PMC members rely on local markets, with forty six [percent] (46%) of sales generated in Portland and another sixteen percent (16%) from the Northwest. But surprisingly thirty percent (30%) of reported sales came from the US outside the Northwest, and eight percent (8%) were international.