Tim Duy

Latest UO report points to leveling growth for Oregon economy

The Oregon economy is in the midst of a more mature business cycle as the pace of growth levels off, according to the latest University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators. The Oregon measure of economic activity rose to 0.84 in August, after an adjusted 0.61 in July.

“Some of the statewide indicators have been a bit more sluggish over the last couple of months,” said Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum and UO professor of practice in the Department of Economics. “The economy accelerated quickly after the recession and now numbers are holding more steady.”

The three-month average stayed constant at 0.66, with zero indicating the average growth over the period from 1990 to the present. The manufacturing sector made a nearly neutral contribution to the measure, but positive contributions from employment and housing permits bolstered the construction component.

Manufacturing weakness remained contained and did not spread more broadly through the economy. That sector is expected to improve as the negative impact of lower oil prices and a stronger dollar wane. Employment services payrolls fell, though largely because of a decline of temporary help.

“Temp employees tend to be the first to be hired and the first to be fired, and consequentially can be a leading indicator of the decline in employment services payroll,” Duy said. “It’s something I am keeping an eye on. This could be a temporary slowdown related to manufacturing weakness or even could be revised away by future data. Overall, I don’t foresee an imminent recession but just some tapering in the pace of growth. “

The full report can be found at http://econforum.uoregon.edu.

The Oregon Economic Forum produces the University of Oregon Statewide Economic Indicator, Regional Economic Indicators and Central Oregon Business Index, as well as an annual conference in Portland. It is part of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Economics.

By Heidi Hiaasen, University Communications