State Economic Agency Releases Dire Forecast


The latest economic forecast released by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis finds that two of Bend’s most vital economic sectors should expect to continue to experience tough times in the near-term.

The report says construction employment is projected to fall 7.3 percent in 2008 and 2.7 percent in 2009 but will improve, along with the overall housing market, in the later part of 2009 with growth of 1.5 percent anticipated in 2010.

Additionally, leisure and hospitality slowed considerably from the 4.4 percent job growth of 2007.
Employment will increase 1.6 percent in 2008 but jobs will decrease slightly in 2009 with a positive
growth turnaround of 1.3 percent in 2010.

Furthermore, the forecast projects a slowing Oregon economy in 2008, continuing into the first half of 2009 with mild growth in the second half, but the outlook faces heightened risks for a much deeper downturn in 2008 and 2009.

Today’s forecast should give voters another reason to vote “no” on Measure 59, which would force major cuts in Oregon’s public structures while cutting taxes for only about one out of four households. Virtually all of the funds would go to Oregonians who are already well off, and the budget cuts it would precipitate would wreak havoc on popular programs, Oregon Center for Public Policy Executive Director Charles Sheketoff said.

“Today’s revenue forecast should be cause for concern for legislators and voters alike,” Sheketoff said.

The subprime mortgage problem has led to bankruptcies and huge write-offs in the financial
industry. While the credit squeeze continues for some borrowers, short-term financing through
the commercial paper market has begun to stabilize. Stricter lending standards also limit credit
access, but qualified borrowers continue to enjoy stable financing, the OOEA report says.

Any drop in house price appreciation coupled with a large drop in mortgage equity withdrawal will slow down consumer spending. The Oregon housing market could be adversely impacted by a major housing correction in California and the rest of the nation. Continued gains in employment and personal income will be needed to keep consumer spending from falling, the report says.

Oregon’s economic condition heavily influences the state’s population growth. Its economy
determines the ability to attract job seekers from other states and beyond. Oregon’s estimated population on July 1, 2007 reached 3,745,455. That was an increase of 1.5 percent over the 2006 population. The recent growth since 2005 is considerably higher than the 1.1 percent annual average growth rate between 2000 and 2005. Overall, population change since 2000 is much lower than the rate of growth of well over 2.0 percent during the early 1990s. Oregon’s population will continue to grow at a moderately high rate in the near future. Based on the current forecast, Oregon’s population will reach 4.158 million in the year 2015 with an annual rate of growth of 1.3 percent, according to the study.


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