Oregon Economy Continues to Struggle


The University of Oregon’s Index of Economic Indicators finds the state’s economy declined .3 percent in May, or an annualized 3.5 percent rate compared to six months ago, the fourth decline greater than 2 percent in the past five months.

Only three indicators — the Oregon weight-distance tax, interest rates and building permits – showed improvement with the remaining indicators holding roughly steady or deteriorating.

This type of persistent weakness shows Oregon is experiencing at least a mild recession, Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum and a U of O adjunct assistant professor, stated in a press release.

For the third consecutive month, Oregon’s economy shed jobs. Non-farm payrolls decreased 3,700, dragging job growth down with it .3 percent. Job losses now total a net of 6,700 statewide. The construction industry was hit the hardest, losing 9,400 jobs since July 2007.

Initial unemployment claims continue to hover around a weekly average of 8,000, indicating continued weakness in labor markets, and jobs listed in classified advertising continues falling off as well.

There is some good news – authorized residential building permits increased to 908 units in May, but are down 52 percent compared to May 2007. Recent mortgage rate increases and tighter-than-expected underwriting conditions indicate sustained weakness in residential housing for the foreseeable future, the press release said.

Ongoing declines in consumer confidence indicate that households continue to suffer from the weight of higher food and energy costs and a weaker job market, the release said.


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