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What’s behind Oregon’s 4.5 to 5.2% jobless rate

August 31, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

The unemployment rate in Oregon has increased from 4.5% to 5.2% in the past two months. What is going on here? Well, regular readers know it always important to take real-time economic data with a grain of salt, but the so-called household survey from which the unemployment rate is calculated has been particularly noisy in recent years. Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.

Exactly a year ago we wrote the following in our September 2015 forecast document, released in August 2015 (PDF page 11).

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Seahawks #1 ticket price #3 jerseys

August 30, 2016 --

osba-logoBy Oregon Small Business Association,

This year the Seattle Seahawks finally dethroned the legacy of the New England Patriots for having the highest average ticket costs in the National Football League for secondary sales. The total costs are $466 for an average home ticket price. The Patriots were slightly behind at $454. The data comes from an online ticket re-seller called TicketIQ.

These Seahawk ticket sales represent a 7% rise form the previous year.
The average NFL ticket cost is $248 for secondary pricing.
This puts the Seahawk prices not far from double the average team price.

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Ruling on employee class action rights

August 29, 2016 --

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

The Ninth Circuit Sides with the NLRB, Class Action Waivers Are Unlawful
By Kyle Abraham and Nicole Elgin

On August 22, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that employers may not require employees to sign arbitration agreements that include class action waivers as a mandatory condition of employment. In the case of (Morris v. Ernst & Young), the Ninth Circuit sided with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in the national debate over the enforceability of such waivers.

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Retailers embrace sales tax plan

August 26, 2016 --

NRF-retail-federationNational Retail Federation News Release,

The National Retail Federation today welcomed the release of draft online sales tax legislation by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., saying action is needed to break Congress’ years-long deadlock on the issue.

“We hope this move will bring the attention needed to get Congress to move forward in treating purchases made online the same as those made in local stores when it comes to sales tax collection,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “With online shopping increasing every day, it’s time for Congress to act. The price advantage held by online sellers when they don’t have to collect sales tax has resulted in the shuttering of bricks-and-mortar retail stores in almost every community across the nation over the last few years. That cannot be allowed to continue.”

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What’s impacting Oregon prices?

August 25, 2016 --

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Oregon Prosperity Project,

The Washington Post, citing research from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), recently addressed an important topic that should be part of the discussion when legislators debate several policy issues currently in the news.  Luxury goods are falling in price while many necessities become more expensive.

While food and housing have increased in price by 60% over the past 20 years, items such as mobile phone service, televisions, computers and some toys have become less expensive, a chart from AEI shows.  Some of the biggest price increases involve expensive purchases that help improve quality – and in some cases – length of life: college education, child care and health care.

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Oregon jobless rate up 13% from March

August 24, 2016 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Rises to 5.2 Percent in July, Job Growth Continues

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in July, an increase from June’s 4.8 percent. It’s risen from a record low of 4.5 percent in the three months of March, April and May. Oregon’s labor force, which reached a record high of 2,058,000 in July, has grown rapidly in recent months as the number of people employed grew along with growth in the number of unemployed.

chart-oed-aug16

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Pokemon Go & business privacy risks

August 23, 2016 --

Davis Dwight & Tremaine LLP
Oregon business law firm

By Rebecca L. Williams

Pikachu, Alakazam, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle can teach us a few things about HIPAA privacy. Pokémon GO is a recent craze encouraging people to try to catch’em all. As a result, employees, clients, and patients are scrambling around the halls of covered entities and business associates in search of elusive Pokémon, hoping to take a capturing picture and possibly post a photo of their trophy on social media.

The risks presented by Pokémon GO are not new, they’re just a Zebstrika of a different stripe. The key is to stay alert and to keep one step ahead of those HIPAA compliance pocket monsters. Some covered entities and business associates are banning the beasts, while others are setting lures to attract even more Pokémon. Whatever approach, covered entities and business associates should consider:

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Transportation Bill re-emerges

August 22, 2016 --

nfib-logoBy NFIB,

Small businesses are weighing in on a big Oregon transportation project.

The Oregon Joint Interim Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization is currently touring the state to gain insight into the transportation needs of Oregon residents and local businesses.

Many small businesses and residents agree that Oregon’s transportation needs improvement, but few are sure exactly what projects should be funded and where the money to do so will come from. Ultimately, legislators would like to debate a comprehensive transportation package in the 2017 legislative session based on feedback from this tour.

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Agency wants more private data from business

August 19, 2016 --

Chamber-of-commerceU.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to return to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) its proposal to collect employee compensation and hours-worked data from employers.

In comments filed, the Chamber argued that the EEOC’s proposal will impose costly administrative burdens on employers and yield data that will not provide any insight as to whether an employer’s pay practices are discriminatory.

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Stock market record high — yet no respect

August 18, 2016 --

by Brad Houle, CFA
Executive Vice President
Ferguson Wellman,Portland

The stock market was up for last week with the S&P 500 returning .20 percent.  During the week, the S&P 500 climbed to an all-time high on Thursday. Bonds were higher in price and lower in yield with the 10-year Treasury moving from a 1.59 percent yield on Monday to a 1.51 percent yield at the end of the week. Economic data released this week included retail sales which were largely unchanged in July. Car sales were higher in the month but were offset by a decline in the value of gasoline sales. In addition, University of Michigan released consumer confidence numbers this week which came in at 90.4, which is slightly higher than what was released in July. A score of 90.4 indicates that consumer confidence remains high and the job market continues to strengthen.

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