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University of Oregon State of Oregon Economic Indicators for January 2015

By:  Timothy Duy, director, Oregon Economic Forum Department of Economics at University of Oregon

Oregon continues to experience solid economic growth on par with past expansions. The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose to 1.12 in January from 0.62 the previous month. The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, stood at 0.96, where “zero” for this measure indicates average growth over the 1990–present period. All four major sectors contributed positively to the overall measure. A solid employment gain boosted the manufacturing sector; jobs in that sector grew by 1.2 percent during the month. Construction employment also contributed positively, although below-normal levels of building permits continue to drag on the measure. Initial unemployment claims, consumer confidence, and unemployment (which declined further) all made positive contributions to the household sector. Service sector employment components were more mixed relative to recent months, but the net effect remains positive. Business and professional service job growth has been strong, up 1.4 percent during the month and 6.1 percent over the past year. The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity is tracking at levels consistent with past expansions. Employment data, however, is subject to revisions.

The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators gained 0.3 percent in January; the index has not declined in the past five months. Initial unemployment claims, employment services payrolls (mostly temporary help positions), residential building permits (smoothed), and the Oregon weight distance tax (a measure of trucking activity), were all largely unchanged. Average hours worked in manufacturing and core manufacturing orders both edged upward. Consumer sentiment (smoothed) rose; sentiment has been supported by the recent rapid decline in gasoline prices. The interest rate spread continued its decline in January as overseas investors sought the safety of U.S. assets.

The two indicators suggest ongoing growth in Oregon at an above average pace of activity. The ongoing U.S. economic expansion provides sufficient support to expect that Oregon’s economy will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Read the entire report: http://econforum.uoregon.edu/files/2015/03/newindexjan15-p3xtmu.pdf

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