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Oregon job trend slows

April 30, 2011 --

Oregon Employment Trend Takes a Breather After Five Strong Months
By Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.0 percent in March, essentially unchanged from 10.2 percent in February. March marked Oregon’s lowest unemployment rate in 26 months. Oregon’s rate has not been lower since January 2009, when the rate was 9.9 percent. In March, 208,420 Oregonians were unemployed.

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 2,500, following a gain of 9,700 in February. The drop in March follows five consecutive months of rapid job gains from October through February.

Construction dropped by 500 jobs in March, when a gain of 700 is the normal seasonal movement. Heavy and civil engineering construction dropped 300 jobs and is now down 500 from March 2010.

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Oregon Forecast: Retail sales take lead, Housing drags

April 29, 2011 --

Oregon Forecast Highlights 2011 Q2
Dan Hamilton,
CLU Center for Economic Research & Forecasting

Oregon’s recent economic performance has exceeded my expectations. Much of the 2011 first quarter data is not final, but it appears that we have enough to understand that it was strong. It was atypically strong for any coastal economy in this anemic and jobless recovery. It was broad based, with more than 14,000 jobs gained in good-paying sectors like: professional and business management, durables manufacturing, information technology, and education and healthcare. There were over 12,000 jobs gained in a number of other sectors as well: non-durables manufacturing, retail trade, personal and maintenance services, and leisure and hospitality services.

Retail sales

Estimates of Oregon’s real retail sales also indicate surprising strength, registering 12.2 percent quarter-on-quarter annualized growth in 2010 quarter 4. We estimate that 2011 quarter 1 real retail sales were 3.2 percent.

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SB 19 signed. State to move to low-cost bonds

April 28, 2011 --

State Treasurer:Senate Bill 19 that could save Oregon taxpayers tens of millions
— SB 19 allows the state to save debt costs by switching to lower-cost bonds

SALEM – Gov. John Kitzhaber today signed into law an Oregon Treasury-sponsored bill that could foster cost savings worth tens of millions, which would be accomplished by reclassifying existing state borrowing and obtaining lower interest rates.

“Oregonians are calling on their leaders to make smart money decisions and this makes common sense,” said Treasurer Ted Wheeler. “We will refinance many of our bonds and save taxpayers millions in interest costs.”
Senate Bill 19 will put into motion the cost-saving reforms that were authorized by voters in Measure 72, which passed in November.

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Oregon Readies Passage of Oregon Health Care Reform

April 27, 2011 --

Revisions to Health Care Reform Law: Oregon Readies Passage of Oregon Health Care Reform
By Barran Liebman
Oregon law firm

This year, along with April showers, the beginning of spring has brought some noteworthy developments in the ongoing saga of Health Care Reform.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Challenges to Health Care Reform

The United States Supreme Court announced that it will not “fast track” its review of the constitutional challenges to the legislation popularly known as Health Care Reform–it will only review the lower-court’s decisions after they have been heard and ruled upon in the appellate courts. This means that there will be no Supreme Court resolution of the controversial Health Care Reform legislation until at least the 2011-2012 Court term, and it is likely that the Court’s ruling will not be issued until Summer 2012, ensuring that this issue will remain a hot issue in the upcoming 2012 political election season.

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Legislature: 7 employment law bills to watch

April 26, 2011 --

AOI Employment Law Watch List
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

The deadline for legislation to move out of its original committee is this week. All legislation that is not passed out of its original committee this week is considered dead. For groups like AOI, it’s one of the busiest weeks in the session. It’s when compromises are reached. Deals are cut. Amendments to legislation fly around the Capitol in hopes that one of them hits the mark, allowing a bill to pass. In other words, it’s a week that requires vigilance.

These are the employment-related issues that AOI is actively working this week:

SB 2 requires private sector employers to give veterans the day off on Veterans Day. If an employer cannot afford to give all veterans the day off, the employer is required to deny time off to the minimum number of employees who are veterans to maintain “minimum operational capacity.” An employer must give a veteran an alternate day off if Veterans Day is not a possibility.

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Congress’ privacy bills and their impact on advertising

April 25, 2011 --

An Advertising Perspective on the Kerry-McCain and Stearns-Matheson Privacy Bills
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Oregon law firm

Last week, Sens. John Kerry and John McCain and Reps. Cliff Stearns and Jim Matheson offered new privacy bills. The Kerry-McCain Senate bill and the Stearns-Matheson House bill each seeks to apply a common set of fair information practices on virtually all businesses, online and offline, that collect information about consumers or consumer behavior. For the moment, both bills are directed to commercial and non-profit organizations (such as many online businesses) that are currently not under privacy regulation.

Kerry-McCain would also apply to the cable, satellite and telephone industries that to date have been governed by Cable Act privacy and CPNI rules. Neither bill would displace current privacy laws applicable to health, educational, credit and financial records, debt collection, children’s online data, or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). As explained below, these new proposed laws could have a significant impact on advertising and advertising platforms.

Kerry-McCain bill

Background and framework

The Kerry-McCain bill would apply to any commercial or non-profit entity which collects, uses, transfers or stores “covered information” for more than 5,000 individuals a year. However, it applies this model only to organizations (such as many online businesses) that are currently not under privacy regulation; and to the cable, satellite and telephone industries that to date have been governed by Cable Act privacy and CPNI rules.

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City business regulations target Girl Scouts

April 24, 2011 --

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Savannah-area Girl Scouts got a tough lesson in business regulation and competition when they were banned from selling cookies in front of the childhood home of their founder, Juliette Gordon Low. After decades of selling in front of the house, Savannah’s zoning administrator received a complaint that the girls were selling on the public sidewalk, which violates city ordinance.

Source: Savannah Morning News, February 26, 2011

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The iPhone is the fuel behind 83% growth

April 23, 2011 --

CNN has this story and the numbers behind Apple’s tremendous boost.

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S&P Credit Rating on US Debt is overrated

April 22, 2011 --

By Patrick Emerson
Oregon Economics Blog

Yesterday Standard and Poor’s, a credit rating agency, lowered its outlook on the prospect of the US political system making serious progress on dealing with the mounting debt. There was no change in the actual rating they give to US treasuries and bonds which remain at AAA, but it hardly matters because no one cares what S&P has to say about US debt.

Why? Well, the point of the rating agencies is to tell us something about bonds that we don’t know. For example, how safe are the bonds of Kenosha, Wisconsin?

But everyone knows about the situation in the US and the bond market sets the price daily. How risky is US debt? Check the price on the bond market:

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3,400 Mortgage jobs axed by Wells Fargo, Bank of America

April 21, 2011 --

Wells Fargo cuts 1,900 mortgage jobs, Bank of America cuts 1,500
By Oregon Small Business Association

West coast bank Wells Fargo cut 1,900 employees from the mortgage unit nationwide last month. The layoffs were announced on March 23 and gave the employees 60 days’ notice. The San Francisco company gave the slowdown in the mortgage business as a reason for the cuts. Wells Fargo saw mortgage originations fall to $386 billion last year from $420 billion in 2009.

Many of the 1,900 employees were temporary hires that were brought in as consumer interests in refinancing surged when interest rates lowered. The cut represents less than 1 percent of Wells Fargo’s 272,000 work force, the San Francisco Business Times reports in their article here.

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