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BOLI’s big change to manufacturing overtime law

January 31, 2017 --

BOLI Makes Critical Change to Interpretation of Manufacturing Overtime Law
By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association

In Oregon, mills, factories, and manufacturing employers must calculate weekly overtime for employees working more than 40 hours per week, as well as daily overtime for employees working more than 10 hours per day. BOLI has long interpreted this rule to require employers to pay only the greater of the daily or weekly overtime in a workweek. For instance, if an employee works three 12-hour shifts and a single 6-hour shift in a workweek, that employee has worked 6 hours of daily overtime and 2 hours of weekly overtime. The employer would be obligated to pay the 6 hours of daily overtime (and 36 hours of straight time) in this situation, rather than paying a combined 8 hours of weekly and daily overtime (and 34 hours of straight time).

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Interesting trends in office vacancy rates

January 30, 2017 --

by Brad Houle, CFA
Executive Vice President
Ferguson Wellman,
A leading Oregon financial firm

Market Summary

January 27th –  The equity markets were higher by about 1.3 percent compared to last week as investors absorbed fourth quarter earnings and reacted to the changes in Washington. Interest rates were higher, with the 10-year Treasury climbing in yield from 2.39 percent to 2.49 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 this week but the real story is how long it took to get here. It was March 1999 when we crossed 10,000 and 18 years later the market has finally doubled. While new milestones in market averages are always interesting to note, ultimately, what really matters for stocks is earnings and how much investors are willing to pay for earnings.

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Comcast: Celebrity Grimm finale at Doernbecher

January 27, 2017 --

Comcast News Release,

The Portland-based cast and crew of NBC’s “Grimm” will, for the last time, celebrate the star-studded “Grimm Gala” on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 to benefit the children and families of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Presented by Comcast and NBCUniversal, the sold-out event is a fundraiser for the Grimmster Endowment, which supports uncompensated care, travel, lodging, and other services integral to the care and comfort of OHSU Doernbecher’s patients and families in need. This is the sixth and final season of “Grimm,” which has been a longstanding hit for NBC.

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Populist answers are rarely the correct answers

January 26, 2017 --

oregon-econbomics-blog-logoBy Fred Thompson,
Oregon Economics Blog

So Portland has a problem with affordable housing.  Rents are high and increasing, which sucks for all those looking for rental housing (and is great for those with property to rent) and property values are soaring which is great for those who own homes but bad for those that want to buy.  Politicians hear the complaints and want to avoid being seen as passive so they try to come up with policies that sound good to voters.  Unfortunately, these ideas are generally half-baked and done without nearly enough research and thought. And poor policy can have bad consequences.

Thus we have this proposal from City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly with the support of Mayor Ted Wheeler.  This proposal would require landlords to pay the moving costs of tenants evicted for “no-cause.”  The idea is to discourage such evictions. The actual result is most likely to make the rental housing situation worse.

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Wages up as state nears full employment

January 25, 2017 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

Average wages in Oregon are picking up as the economy approaches full employment. The graphs below aim to help place these gains in a better historical context. The first chart shows inflation-adjusted wages in Oregon in recent decades. The figures noted in the graph are annual averages from business cycle peak to business cycle peak. They try to answer the question of how much progress has been made over the entire business cycle.  realavgwage8016

Economists tend to analyze real, or inflation-adjusted gains because they are a marker of overall economic progress. If wages and economic growth are only keeping pace with inflation, then there has been no real progress made in a lot of respects. Yet, even as most people understand this in concept, we tend to focus more on nominal growth when it comes to our wallets since it’s a lot easier to see. All you do is compare your paycheck this year to last year. However the differences between nominal and real gains differ quite a bit over time and have big implications.

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Portland band trademark case before Supreme Court

January 24, 2017 --

Wall Street Journal Editorial,
Jan 18, 2017

If you start a rock band and give it a shocking name, can the government prevent you from trademarking it? That’s the question for the Supreme Court Wednesday as the Justices decide if the feds can discriminate against trademark applications based on the viewpoint of the speech.

Simon Tam formed an Asian-American rock band that calls itself “The Slants,” appropriating an ethnic slur as a statement against discrimination. That strategy has a long history. But when the Portland-based band applied for a trademark in 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the application on grounds that the name disparages Asians (Lee v. Tam).

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The Trump Trade effect on the market

January 23, 2017 --

by Shawn Narancich, CFA
Executive Vice President of Research
Ferguson Wellman,

A leading Oregon financial firm

What has become known as the Trump Trade has delivered strong equity returns since election day last fall, with the benchmark S&P 500 rising by 6.5 percent over this period. More remarkable is the fact that the blue chip index hasn’t experienced a 1 percent or greater loss since October 11, 2016. This lack of downside volatility is unusual, and as the nation transitions to a new presidency, we can’t help but wonder whether the delivery of business deregulation, tax reform and infrastructure spending will meet the expectations that investors have built into stock prices. Indeed, as we note in our 2017 Outlook presentation, government policy poses a key risk to our call for modest equity returns in 2017. With equity index valuations at 18x expected earnings, the margin for error has shrunk. We believe that for stock prices to make forward progress this year, earnings must grow.

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Five top ideas for 2017 regulatory reform

January 20, 2017 --

Associated Builders and Contractors,

ABC, along with a broad coalition of 380 stakeholders, sent a letter to Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging him to make the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) an early priority for the 115th Congress. The bill seeks to improve the transparency of regulations by requiring agencies to invest more effort earlier in the rulemaking process to gather data, evaluate alternatives, and receive public input about the costs and benefits of its rules.

The RAA includes several provisions would make the regulatory process more accountable to Congress and the American public:

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The pitfalls of employee rewards

January 19, 2017 --

eric-fruitsBy Dr. Eric Fruits,
Oregon Economist
On Demand Newsletter

Employee of the Month. Sounds like a great idea. For the price of a cheap plaque and a good parking spot, bosses can motivate employees to deliver superior service. So the thinking goes.

Academics call it “status competition.” And sometimes it backfires.

Wells Fargo has been accused of opening millions of fake bank accounts. Employee compensation was tied to opening new accounts and workers could lose their jobs if they didn’t meet targets. They also had status competitions.

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52,000 Oregon vacancies hitting new highs

January 18, 2017 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Our latest quarterly job vacancy survey results show Oregon businesses reported 52,300 job vacancies in fall 2016. That’s an increase of 7,400 job vacancies compared with the prior fall.

The job vacancy numbers reflect continued, strong employment growth in the state. This fall the 2-to-1 ratio of unemployed Oregonians to job vacancies remained its lowest since comparable records began for the third consecutive quarter.

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