While Intel, the most significant employer in Oregon, is cutting jobs this spring, companies like Nike and Under Armour can’t hire fast enough.
So far, Nike has the largest plans for expansion in the state, building up its headquarters by 1.3 million square feet, enough to employ 7,000 people.
Athletic footwear and apparel business class developer Jennifer Nolfi says that the expansion solidifies Portland’s reputation as the industry’s main hub: “More than ever, the industry has become an important economic driver for the region.”
Success in Portland has initiated a general shift from New England to the area, with Nike at the forefront of business. However, companies like Under Armour, Adidas, and Columbia are also seeing growth in the area.
Under Armour’s sales have grown 28.5 percent in 2015, and stock analysts predict they will continue to rise, especially with NBA player and MVP Steph Curry as an endorser. Company spokeswoman Allison Glass says the company will expand locally from 75 to 200 employees, but rumors in the industry say that Under Armour will try adding up to 500 local employees in the next few years.
As a whole, the industry will continue reaping the benefits of a growing interest in health and fitness, says Jay Sole, stock analyst at Morgan Stanley. He says sales in athletic shoes and apparel have risen 42 percent in the last seven years and will continue to do well as middle-class consumers all over the world become more and more excited about the products.
Even companies with problems will be able to stay afloat. Meanwhile, successful athletic companies worldwide are targeting North America, and specifically Oregon.