By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog
Full employment is finally within sight. It is not here yet, and the current economic expansion is far from perfect, but a long stretch of modest gains in recent years have cumulatively delivered significant progress across the economic spectrum. The number of actual jobs and job openings posted by businesses have never been higher. Combining this with an unemployment rate that is back to normal, at least on paper, indicates that workers are finally becoming a bit scarce. The result is businesses must now compete on price (wages) to attract and retain the best employees. Finally, after years of lackluster wage gains nationally, average hourly earnings for all workers are now increasing faster than inflation. More income for U.S. households will not only feel good but should allow for continued improvement in household finances.
Oregon’s economy continues to make significant gains. Job growth has slowed just a bit from early 2015 rates, yet remains more than strong enough to bring the unemployment rate down and account for the influx of new workers as population growth picks up. More importantly, Oregon’s stronger-than-the-nation’s wage gains have continued through the fall. Overall, the state has regained and retained its traditional economic advantage in expansion relative to the nation. Job growth over the past year in Oregon is more than one percentage point faster than in the typical state. This advantage is primarily due to the state’s industrial structure and migration trends, both of which remain strong today.Read the full article and discuss it »