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Why everyone is revising their forecast downwards

August 31, 2011 --

By CLU Center for Economics Research and Forecasting

We’ve seen more and more forecasters and analysts revising their forecast down. In fact, after being among the lowest for years, we’re now almost consensus. Remember, they came to us.

Downward revisions to United States gross domestic product (GDP) have driven most of the revisions. For about two years, we had trouble with the original GDP estimates. Our jobs forecasts were pretty accurate, but we forecasted productivity growth and consumer spending growth below the initial estimates. This caused us enough grief that we’ve been reviewing our models. Well, the revised numbers are entirely consistent with our original models.

Downward revisions to productivity growth and consumer spending are what drove the downward GDP revisions.

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1 in 3 Oregon homes sales are foreclosures

August 30, 2011 --

Foreclosures Still Plague Oregon Housing Market Account for One in Three Home Sales
By Oregon Tax News

Foreclosures continue to flood Oregon’s housing market and accounted for one-third of all home sales this spring. At 33 percent, Oregon’s housing market is in the top 10 in terms of foreclosed homes as a percentage of all home sales. In Oregon, foreclosed homes sell for about 30 percent less on average than non-foreclosed homes. The number of foreclosed homes on the market, therefore, continues to contribute to declining home values in Oregon and elsewhere.

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Oregon unfunded pensions: Nation’s highest

August 29, 2011 --

Oregon’s Unfunded Pension Obligations: Highest in the U.S.
— New Academic Study Shows the Urgency for States to Address Public Pension Liabilities
By Oregon Prosperity Project

A comprehensive study of unfunded pension liabilities released this summer by two academic economists at Northwestern University and University of Rochester shows the extreme nature of Oregon’s unfunded liabilities.

None of the 50 states have set aside enough money to fund pension promises made to public sector employees. But very little information has been available that would demonstrate how wide the gulf is between what has been promised and what has been paid for.

By nearly every measure, Oregon is in the direst situation of the 50 states.

The recently-adjourned Oregon Legislature made no policy changes that might help close the yawning gap.

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New Ozone rule by EPA could cost $90 billion a year

August 28, 2011 --

New Ozone Rules: EPA’s Voluntary Jobs Killer
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal to tighten ozone standards, which by its own estimates will cost up to $90 billion a year in compliance costs, is a perfect example of this dangerous doublespeak. As our economy sputters and millions of Americans struggle to find work, EPA’s voluntary move to impose severe new rules would hobble our recovery. Private sector studies predict that the new standards would cost as many as 7.3 million American jobs by 2020.

Why? Because industries and large manufacturers would see their operating costs skyrocket. Small businesses, from caterers to auto repair shops, would face new regulatory uncertainty and hesitate to invest in equipment or expand their payrolls. Every form of energy—and any product or service relying on fuel for its construction or transport—would become more expensive.

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Video: How Steve Jobs saved Apple

August 27, 2011 --

As Steve Jobs announced his resignation from Apple this week, many people have focused on his incredible achievements with his innovations. More importantly for Steve Jobs and his work can be found on how he rescued Apple and turned it into a business turnaround story. Please watch the CNN video below:

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Oregon newspapers file bankruptcy, criticize bank

August 26, 2011 --

Oregon newspapers file bankruptcy
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Western Communications, which is the publisher of the Oregon newspapers, Bend Bulletin, Baker City Herald and the Redmond Spokesman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. The publisher was unable to resolve issues over its $18 million loan with Bank of America.

Bank of America was criticized on several fronts. A Western Communications CFO said, “They tried to work with us all right—by doubling our interest rate,” and also, “Based on what they told us, the bank in general decided that they didn’t like media companies any more and they particularly didn’t like newspapers.”

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Fairness Doctrine repealed — does anyone care?

August 25, 2011 --

David Oxenford,
Davis Dwight, Tremaine LLP
Oregon law Firm

FCC Chairman Genachowski issued a press release stating that the FCC was abolishing the Fairness Doctrine as part of its clearing of its book of 83 obsolete media rules. What should the reaction of broadcasters be now that the Fairness Doctrine has been officially abolished? Probably, a collective yawn. In 1987 – almost 25 years ago – the FCC felt that it could not enforce the doctrine as it was an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of speech of broadcasters. Since then, we have had no instances where the FCC has tried to revive the doctrine. While, as we have written before, the revival of the doctrine is a political issue that is from time to time bandied about as something horrible one political party or another plans to impose on America, there really has been no serious attempt to bring the doctrine back in this decade. So the repeal of the actual FCC rule that sets out the doctrine is really inconsequential, as it practically changes nothing.

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Oregon Job Growth Stalls

August 24, 2011 --

By Nick Beleiciks
Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in July, essentially unchanged from 9.4 percent in June. The national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in July and 9.2 percent in June. Oregon’s July rate of 9.5 percent was 0.4 percentage point above the U.S. rate. The difference between the Oregon and the U.S. unemployment rates was not statistically significant.

In July, 189,501 Oregonians were unemployed. This is 21,148 fewer individuals than in July 2010 when 210,649 Oregonians were unemployed.

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Michigan shooting prompts Oregon contractor to speak out

August 23, 2011 --

Michigan shooting prompts local contractors to speak out
ABC calls for an end to union protests at business owners’ homes
By John Killin
Associated Builders and Contractors,
Pacific Northwest Chapter

BEAVERTON, Ore – In the wake of a recent shooting of a non-union contractor outside his home near Toledo, Ohio, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors called on area construction unions to put an end to practice of intimidating local business owners at their homes.

John King, a non-union electrical contractor, was shot in the arm outside his Lambertville, Michigan home recently when he surprised a man trying to slash the tires on his truck. The word “scab” was scrawled on King’s vehicle.

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Ozone may be next big Oregon regulation issue

August 22, 2011 --

By  John Ledger
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon largest business advocate

It all rides on one little number

Back in D.C., the EPA is encountering mounting resistance to a host of issues, not the least of which is the agencies impending decision on a revised ground level ozone standard.

There are big implications for Oregon. If an area is found to be violating an ambient standard such as ozone, either because of increased emissions or a tightening of the standard, the area is then classified as being in “nonattainment.” And being a nonattainment area carries big penalties as far as economic growth and job creation is concerned. Severe restrictions on new construction or expansion and near impossible permitting requirements are all the consequences of being labeled as a nonattainment area.

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