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State economy slips, hints of double dip recession

July 21, 2010 --

By Tim Duy,
Oregon Economic Forum

sponsor, KeyBank.

The Oregon recovery experienced headwinds in May.  The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators™ fell 1.4% to 87.9 (1997=100) from a revised April figure of 89.  Significant deterioration in Oregon employment services payrolls, Oregon residential building permits, and the interest rate spread contributed to the decline.

Highlights of the report include:

•    Labor market indicators were largely unchanged during March. Claims have improved dramatically since last year, but still remain elevated, while steady economic growth since last summer has had limited impact on new hiring.  

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Is Your Unpaid Intern an Employee? Maybe . . .

July 20, 2010 --

By Wayne D. Landsverk & Merril A. Keane,
Miller Nash LLP
,
Oregon and Washington Law Firm

School is out, and summer internships are beginning across the Northwest. Employers might not be thinking about whether their unpaid summer interns qualify as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”). After all, the intern and the employer are on the same page: The intern gets valuable experience, so there is no obligation to pay. Right . . . ?

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Oregon pays millions to unpaid workers

July 19, 2010 --

By Oregon Tax News,

Oregon is one of a few states that dedicates funds, paid by Oregon employers, to cover unpaid wages when a company fails and does not have money for payroll. Last year, the average payout was about $1,048 per worker. The fund pays amounts equal to unpaid wages up to a maximum of $4,000. Several incidents in the mid-1980s, when employees of distressed companies learned that banks were ahead of them in collecting debts, led to legislation that established a fund to protect workers. Since its inception, Oregon’s Wage Security Fund has paid more than $16 million in benefits to more than 16,000 workers.

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Poll shows concern over government expansion

July 18, 2010 --

Press Release from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Data Exposes Concerns Among Small Businesses and Voters with Lack of Progress on Jobs

In advance of last Wednesday’s Jobs for America: Summit 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today released two surveys showing that small business owners and voters are deeply concerned about the impact government expansion and debt are having on job creation.

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Downtown Portland Slow to Rebuild From 2008 Job Losses

July 17, 2010 --

Portland Business Alliance Press Release

Government continues trend as top employer

Downtown Portland experienced an increase of 54 businesses and 393 jobs in 2009, but there is still a long road ahead to make up for 2008 when roughly 277 businesses and 3,000 jobs were lost. The greatest employment gains were seen in government, information and healthcare. Additionally, results from the annual Downtown Business Census & Survey show that for the ninth year in a row, a large majority of downtown business owners feel that downtown is clean and safe.

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Oregon Biomass Projects Receive Federal Funds

July 16, 2010 --

Governor Ted Kulongoski Press Release

Governor Ted Kulongoski recently announced $3 million in federal funds for three biomass energy projects in Oregon. These projects represent the seventh round of awards through the U.S. Department of Energy – State Energy Program. The program supports energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and is funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

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New Limits on Employers’ Use of Credit Histories

July 15, 2010 --

Article by: J.L. Wilson

Associated Oregon Industries

New regulations limiting the ability of employers to use credit histories for prospective employees and job applicants began on July 1 with Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian marking the occasion by holding sessions of a special seminar on the topic in Portland.

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Small Business Optimism Declines in June

July 14, 2010 --

The National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism lost 3.2 points in June falling to 89.0 after posting modest gains for several months*. The Index has been below 93 every month since January 2008 (30 months), and below 90 for 23 of those months, all readings typical of a weak or recession-mired economy.

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Congress Considers Internet Sales Tax Bill

July 13, 2010 --

Internet Sales Tax Draft Bill, the “Main Street Fairness Act”

by Joseph M. Wallin                                                                                        

If you are interested in knowing what Congress is up to with respect to allowing states to require out-of-state internet retailers to collect and remit sales tax, the latest bill making the rounds, the “Main Street Fairness Act” (the “Act”), is attached. You can find a summary of the bill here.

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Small Businesses Burdened By Lawsuits

July 12, 2010 --

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Press Release:                                                                  

Lawsuits Cost Small Businesses $105 Billion, Study Shows

A new study released July 8th by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) shows that small businesses shoulder a tremendous burden of the nation’s tort liability costs, having paid $105.4 billion in 2008.


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