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2011 Tech Disasters

December 31, 2011 --

Video: 2011 Tech Disasters

In 2011, the corporate world saw some of the biggest and best tech companies make giant mistakes. CNN helps review which mistakes were made and how they handled it.

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California jobless rate improves for all the wrong reasons

December 30, 2011 --

CLU Center for Economic Research & Forecasting
Oregon Economics

California has now had three consecutive months of job gains, and the State’s unemployment rate has been declining, albeit slowly. That’s an improvement, but it’s not time to break out the bubbly.

For one thing, those job gains have been pretty darn small, and they haven’t been enough to drive down the unemployment rate. Outmigration and a shrinking labor force are the reasons that California’s unemployment rate is declining.

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Economics of KItzhaber’s health care transformation

December 29, 2011 --

What if you gave away health care and no one showed up?
by Eric Fruits

EconInternationalOregon’s governor has a plan to “transform” the delivery of health care in the state. At first blush, it seems that the state will jettison its experiment with the Oregon Health Plan that made headlines two decades ago with its rationing of services.

It looks more and more likely, however, that the new plan will look much like the old plan, only without the explicit rationing of service. Even so, the state has big hopes of saving hundreds of millions of dollars. Toward that end, the governor’s office has been pointing to a new study prepared for the state that says efficiencies associated with a transformation of the Oregon Health Plan could save the state approximately $130 million a year.

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The year of Bill Gates Bashing

December 28, 2011 --

2011 has been the year of Bill Gates bashing
— To his credit, Bill has handled it all in stride
By Oregon Small Business Association

From government criticisms to former co-workers, 2011 was a year full of unusually sharp and personal criticism of Bill Gates.

First of all, Governing Magazine ran a front page cover story about billionaires meddling in the classroom with the photo of a sneaky Bill Gates peering from the corner. The article represented a teacher backlash to Gates’ $400 million annually worth of education initiatives . In fact, the Gates Foundation devotes $75 million to policy-related advocacy, a significant figure for a “philanthropic” organization and one that enables Gates to wield influence in nearly every major area of education policy. One critic said that top officials in the U.S Department of Education have become so influenced by Gates that “it’s not too great a stretch to say that the Gates Foundation is, in effect, running the Department of Education.”

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Diploma job requirement may be illegal

December 27, 2011 --

Requiring a High School Diploma May Violate the ADA
Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) posted an informal discussion letter to its Web site addressing employment qualification standards, including high school diplomas, and concerns they may raise under the ADA. As the EEOC explained, qualification standards like the requirement that an applicant have a high school diploma screen out those with disabilities who are unable to attain the particular qualification because of a learning disability. Such standards are only permissible if they are job related and consistent with business necessity.

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Chart: OR & WA minimum wage boost leads nation

December 26, 2011 --

Front page of CNN Business section.

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Christmas spirit comes alive in 2011 with layaway angels

December 25, 2011 --

By Kathryn Hickock
Cascade Policy Institute

Struggling parents with children’s clothing and toys on layaway are finding that anonymous strangers have paid their balances down to a penny at Kmart and other stores across the country. Retailers have known “Secret Santas” for years, but this Christmas season appears to be different.

According to the Frederick News Post in Maryland, a local manager said, “I’ve been in management here nine years, and we had one or two each year. This year we had 16 or 17 in just the past few days. The need is really there and people are helping out.”

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Where gold is heading in 2012

December 24, 2011 --

Business Video Pick of the Week: CNBC business video interview gives gold a positive forecast but with big caution.

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Portland losing more jobs than comparable cities

December 23, 2011 --

Portland’s Economic Health- By the Numbers
Portland area employment and income still lagging
BY Oregon Prosperity Project

A group of Oregon’s leading business associations released a report this week detailing how the Portland Metropolitan economy ranks with other metropolitan economies throughout the US.

Some interesting findings:
• Portland-metro’s employment per capita remained 6 percent below pre-recession levels by the close of 2010, compared to a 5 percent gap among all U.S. metros.
• Portland-metro’s employment drop was also worse, dropping 8 percent (or by 81,200 fewer people employed), which was two percentage points lower than the average for U.S. metro areas. Only 17,900 new employees have been added back.

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Where the Real Estate Market is heading

December 22, 2011 --

By Bill Conerly, Businomics, Conerly Consulting

Real estate markets are unbalanced in most parts of the country: vacancy is too high, but construction is too low. That sounds contradictory, because construction should be low when vacancy is high. Looking forward, however, we’ll find insufficient supply when the economy improves.

Underlying this view of real estate is an economic outlook (more details in my Economic Forecast 2012-2013) for moderate growth in the coming two years. We won’t have enough growth to get us back to feeling good again. The unemployment rate will remain above normal, but declining to about 7.5 percent. Moderate economic growth will increase demand for all kinds of real estate, both residential and non-residential.

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