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Poll: Government vs. private workers see economy different

December 31, 2009 --

Data from the Rasmussen Consumer Index show that their is striking difference between government employees and private sector employees when it comes to economic outlook and personal finances.  Below are some of thee results:

Rated economy as good/excellent
Government employees: 24%
Private Employees: 9%

Rated economy as getting better
Government employees: 46%
Private Employees: 32%

There was a difference on how they see their own personal finance:

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Oregon DMV Cracks Down on Charitable Auto Donations

December 30, 2009 --

By William S. Manne, William C. Fisher
Miller Nash LLP

Oregon and Washington Law Firm

Charitable organizations’ vehicle donation programs have come under recent scrutiny by the Oregon DMV (the “DMV”). Oregon motor vehicle law requires vehicle sellers to be registered dealers unless the vehicle was used for personal or household purposes. If a charity accepts vehicle donations and then sells those vehicles as a source of revenue, it violates these laws unless it is a registered dealer. Some states have enacted statutory exemptions from these requirements, but Oregon has no such exemption.

One approach to resolving this problem is to sell the donated vehicles through consignment with a registered dealer. But Oregon’s vehicle consignment rules provide a prickly path for charities that attempt to navigate it. If those rules are not strictly followed, the DMV may force the charity to cease its vehicle donation program altogether.

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Oregon’s Workweek Remains Short

December 29, 2009 --

By David Cooke
Oregon Employment Department

The average weekly hours worked by Oregon’s manufacturing production workers remained low in November. At 38.2 hours per week, the reading was well below the typical level of 39 to 40 hours per week seen in Oregon during 2001 through 2007 (Graph 1 above). However, the measure did rebound considerably from March (35.5 hours) through June (37.9 hours) of this year.

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Dozens of tax credits to expire 2010, unless Congress acts

December 28, 2009 --

By Oregon Tax News,

Top lawmakers told Senate leaders they plan to move forward early in 2010 with an extension of a $31 billion package of tax measures for both businesses and individuals that are set to expire at the end of 2009.  They said they intend to extend the credits retroactively to the beginning of 2010, so there is no gap for recipients of the measures. The House passed an extension of the tax measures before they left town for the holiday recess. But the Senate has not found time to push through that measure or take up a similar measure.

Among the expiring individual tax breaks:
– Annual alternative minimum tax “patch,” which keeps 23 million additional middle-income Americans from being forced into calculating and paying the dreaded AMT;
– The deduction for state and local sales taxes for itemizers;
– The additional $1,000 deduction for real estate taxes for those who claim the standard deduction;
– The $4,000 deduction for college tuition;
– $250 deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.

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A look at Oregon’s 4.5 billion dollar financial industry

December 27, 2009 --

By Shawna Sykes
Oregon Employment Department

Nearly $4.5 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) was paid out to employees in Oregon’s financial activities industry in 2008. With over 88,000 jobs in financial activities in Oregon, the industry makes up 5.2 percent of all covered employment statewide.  The financial activities industry includes businesses in credit intermediation, real estate, insurance, securities, funds and trust management, rental and leasing services, and lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets.

Credit Intermediation Employs Most

The sector with the most employment in the finance industry (28,760 jobs) is credit intermediation and related activities which includes local banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, and check cashing services . Insurance carriers and related activities is the second-largest (26,488 jobs) and real estate rounds out the top three (20,335 jobs). The balance of employment in financial activities is in rental and leasing services (7,196 jobs); funds, trusts, other financial and monetary authorities (613 jobs); securities, commodity contracts, and investments (4,864 jobs); and lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets (335 jobs).

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CNN lists best jobs in America

December 26, 2009 --

Here is 20 of the top 50 best jobs in America as measured by pay and job growth.   Following the list is the 10 year forecast growth in that market.  If you want to knwo who is hiring in Oregon and the Northwest check this list.   Read full list of 50 best jobs in America here.

1. Systems Engineer, 45%
2 Physician Assistant, 27%
3 College Professor, 23%
4 Nurse Practitioner, 23%
5 Information Technology Project Manager, 16%
6 Certified Public Accountant, 18%
7 Physical Therapist, 27%
8 Computer/Network Security Consultant, 27%
9 Intelligence Analyst, 15%
10 Sales Director, 10%

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Merry Christmas from your lawyer

December 25, 2009 --

Merry Christmas from the folks at Oregon Business Report

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The COBRA Subsidy Extended

December 24, 2009 --

Barran Liebman LLP
Oregon Law Firm,

On Saturday morning, the Senate enacted an extension to the COBRA subsidy. As part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, the extension is certain to be signed into law by President Obama, triggering additional assistance for involuntarily terminated employees and notice obligations for employers.

Extension of Eligibility
This new legislation extends eligibility for COBRA assistance to those individuals involuntarily terminated on or before February 28, 2010. (The original subsidy only covers individuals terminated on or before December 31, 2009.) Individuals terminated on or before February 28, 2010, but not beginning COBRA until March 1, 2010, are explicitly covered under the extension.

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New Economic Forecast for 2010 and 2011

December 23, 2009 --

By Bill Conerly, Conerly Consulting, Businomics,

With the GDP revision today I touched up my economic forecast for 2010 and 2011.  Not much has changed, but it’s worth emphasizing the uncertainty that inventories play in the outlook.  First, here’s the picture of the new forecast:

The dark blue columns are historic data points.  The light blue is my forecast.  The red line is the average performance of the economy since World War II coming out of recessions.  Note that this charts shows growth rates, so that the first quarter of 2011 is a quarter of growth, though not very strong.

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2010 Workplace posting on Political-Religious-Union Meetings

December 22, 2009 --

Oregon Employers: Download SB 519 (Mandatory Meeting Ban) Notice Here
by Dennis Westlind
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law

Back in June, we reported on Oregon SB 519 – the law taking effect January 1, 2010 that will prohibit Oregon employers from disciplining any employee who refuses to participate in communications concerning the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters – including labor unions.

SB 519 also requires ALL Oregon employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the new law.  We usually rely on the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to supply us with all mandatory postings, but BOLI has chosen not to publish an SB 519 posting.

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