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2013 Oregon added 37,300 jobs – best since 2006

February 28, 2014 --

Oregon experienced real growth growth in 2013

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

Oregon finally saw some real job growth in 2013. The state’s economy was strong enough to add 37,300 jobs over the year through November. That’s above average for a growth year and the largest November to November jobs gain since 2006. In fact, more jobs were created in 2013 than in 2011 and 2012 combined!

The addition of 37,300 jobs from November 2012 to November 2013 represents a growth rate of 2.3 percent. Job growth in 2013 was faster than the average rate for growth years since 2000, which is 1.7 percent. Oregon’s job growth in 2013 ranked as the fourth-fastest year of growth since 2000, but it was not enough to fill in the deep hole dug by the recession (Graph 1). That will require an additional 53,900 jobs.

Despite the job growth, the high number of unemployed Oregonians keeps downward pressure on worker earnings. The average hourly wage in 2013 was about $22.50 per hour. After adjusting for inflation, the average worker in Oregon is earning less than before or during the recession.

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Phil Knight: Nation’s 3rd biggest giver

February 26, 2014 --

Phil Knight Third Most Generous Donor of 2013knightphil
By Oregon Small Business Association

Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike, has been named as the #3 most giving person in 2013 according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Last Spring, Constance French, senior vice president of Oregon Health & Science University Foundation and Brian Druker, director of OHSU’s Knight Cancer Center approached Knight with a donation request of $500-million for a 20-year project to expand research and early detection of deadly cancers. Knight suggested shortening the time to 10 years, but continued to consider the proposal. At a September OHSU event, Knight announced he and his wife, Penelope would give $500-million with the stipulation that the university secure a matching amount from additional donors in two years.

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Court ruling: Workers changing clothes compensation case

February 25, 2014 --

bullard-law2By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm


On January 27, 2014, a unanimous United States Supreme Court held that employers and unions may agree that time workers spend putting on and taking off clothing, including protective clothing, is unpaid without violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation, a group of employees at U.S. Steel’s Gary, Indiana plant sued their employer seeking backpay under the FLSA for the time they spent donning and doffing protective clothing and gear.

While the FLSA normally requires that employers pay employees for time spent donning and doffing clothing required for the job, the definition of “hours worked” allows “any time spent in changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday” to be excluded as non-compensable under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. See 29 USC §203(o). US Steel defended itself by arguing that the complaining employees worked under a CBA that specifically excluded time spent “changing clothes” from compensable work time.

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Oil entrepreneur behind Monuments Men

February 24, 2014 --
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In the movie The Monuments Men, a Hollywood “A List” of actors including George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray don the roles of soldiers racing across Europe searching for art stolen by the Nazis.

This little-known story would’ve remained hidden to the general public if it wasn’t for the work of Robert Edsel, author of three books on the subject: Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe’s Great Art; The Monuments Men; and Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures From the Nazis.

But before telling this story, Edsel ran an energy company. His Gemini Exploration pioneered the use of horizontal drilling, as Leah Churner at the Texas Observer wrote:

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Jeld-Wen field out, Providence steps in

February 21, 2014 --

Portland Timbers Press Releasetimbers

The Portland Timbers and Providence Health & Services today announced a new deeply integrated community partnership. The multiyear deal is founded in health and wellness initiatives and events throughout the region as well as a name change of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club’s historic downtown home venue to Providence Park, which annually plays host to home games for the Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and a wide variety of sports, entertainment and community-related events.

Providence, a not-for-profit health care provider committed to giving back to the communities it serves, and the Timbers made the announcement together today at Providence Park. The robust and integrated partnership features a number of important community initiatives, including the revival of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games in 2014, outreach efforts through the Timbers’ Stand Together platform, and partnering on youth soccer camps and field-related projects. Providence will become a Founding Partner of the Portland Timbers Community Fund and a presenting partner of the Timbers’ Hispanic community outreach platform, “Somos Timbers.”

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Legislature eyes free community college

February 20, 2014 --

Oregon Economics Blog

An interesting proposal to study the idea of making community college free to all Oregon students is making its way through the legislature.  This is just to study the idea but a few caveats come immediately to mind.

One, shouldn’t this benefit be means tested?  Wouldn’t the better policy be to target low income households?  It is not clear to me that we have to incentivize high income households to send their kids to college.

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Homeowner notice bill passes House

February 19, 2014 --

Homebuyer Protection Bill Clears Oregon House on Unanimous Votewhitsett-gail-representative
By State Representative Gail Whitsett

A bill to protect homebuyers from inadvertently purchasing homes in which methamphetamines were manufactured passed the Oregon House of Representatives on a 57 -0 vote today. Sponsored by Rep. Gail Whitsett (R -Klamath Falls), House Bill 4065 a mends existing statute to require notice of a trustee’s sale in connection with the foreclosure of residential property to include language that warns prospective purchasers that the property may have been used in manufacturing methamphetamine.

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Consumer privacy bills killed

February 17, 2014 --

larry-georgeBy State Senator Larry George

Despite the shock of recent civil rights violations that have been exposed nationwide, the Senate General Government Committee refused to take action on a simple bill that would have protected the privacy of Oregonians.

Senate Bill 1522 would have limited the amount of time a law enforcement agency could keep data collected from automatic license plate surveillance technology. The committee’s inaction allows government agencies to hold data on innocent citizens for an indefinite period of time. “I’m confident this bill would pass in a bi -partisan way if allowed to the Senate floor,” said Senator Larry George (R -Sherwood). “I’m shocked that Democrats on this committee and in leadership are so eager to protect NSA -style data hording, violating the privacy of millions of innocent citizens. The Democrats say they care about privacy but time and time again refuse to take a vote that protects privacy. It is outrageous!”

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Labor Board eyes faster union election rules

February 14, 2014 --

WSJ Editorial:newspapers

The National Labor Relations Board has been one of the most active outposts of the Obama “unilateral presidency.” It returned to the news last week with a proposal to speed up union elections. The board floated this rule once before. It failed. Take two is no better.

The idea first surfaced in 2011, after “card check” legislation to steamroll elections failed in Congress. The NLRB then went looking for other ways to make it easier for unions to organize work sites. They landed on a new rule, which would get unions in the door fast with speeded-up certification votes.
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In that spirit, the NLRB jammed the rule through with the votes of only two members, both Democrats. An official quorum required three members, and on that ground the U.S. District Court in Washington declared the vote invalid, in response to a lawsuit by the Chamber of Commerce.

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Oregon construction sours economic gains

February 13, 2014 --

chart-duy-feb14University of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes
By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of  Oregon

The Oregon economy experienced continued gains in December. Highlights of the report include:

– The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose to 0.37 in November, up from a revised 0.16 the previous month. The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, is 0.17 where “zero” for this measure indicates the average growth rate over the 1990-present period.
– Only the construction sector contributed negatively to the measure. Although construction activity is improving, the level of residential permits and the pace of employment growth in the sector both remain somewhat below average for the Oregon economy. Employment measures in the services sector supported a solid positive contribution for the month.

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