Oregon Economic Growth Slowing

A report from the Oregon Employment Department has economists giving grim assessments of the state of Oregon's economy.

From the Associated Press:

Despite zigzags in monthly statistics, economists say, Oregon's economy shows an overall trend of slowing growth.

The last three months of job statistics are a case for taking the long view of numbers, they say.

In January, the state's economy added 400 jobs.

In February, it lost 1,400.

But on Monday, the Oregon Employment Department revised the February statistics and said the month actually saw a gain of 900 jobs.

But the same report also said that in March, the economy dropped 2,700 jobs.

"The numbers can bounce around from month to month," says Art Ayre, state employment economist with the department. "We don't pay too much attention to any one month's numbers."

Overall, economists say that Oregon's economy is slowing, but we're better off than the country as a whole:

Analysts say long-term trends show a definite slowdown in Oregon.

The number of jobs grew 1.6 percent in 2007, compared with 3 percent in 2006. The job growth rate hasn't kept up with population growth, meaning more people are looking for work. The effect is to bump up the jobless rate.

"Oregon is holding up better than the rest of the nation," said Bill Conerly, an economic analyst based in Lake Oswego. "Certainly, things aren't great, but the economy is not collapsing. Most of the economy is chugging right along, and people are still working."

The state employment office defines a recession as a six-month period that features at least a 1 percent net job loss and declines in at least half of 11 industry groups.

"The jury is still out on whether we are in a recession or not," said Tom Potiowsky, Oregon's state economist. "But I think we are going to come to a conclusion on that soon. It looks like the U.S. is in a recession, and Oregon is not immune from a U.S. recession."

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