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State Economy: Continued above-average growth

May 10, 2018

By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of Oregon

The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose in March to 1.01 compared to a downwardly revised February reading of 0.61. Highlights of this month’s report include:

The construction sector made a modest negative contribution to the measure, weighed down by weaker employment components; new housing units permits made a nearly neutral contribution. A softer stock market compared to last year has reduced the contribution from that sector to nearly neutral. Consumer sentiment, however, continues to add positively to the measure.
– The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators gained for a fourth consecutive month, rising 0.4 percent. Initial unemployment claims continue to bounce along sideways at very low levels consistent with economic expansion and ongoing job growth.
Trucking activity as measure by the Oregon weight distance tax continues to rise, reaching a new cycle high and indicating gains for Oregon’s traded-sector economy.
The moving average measure, which smooths out the volatility, slid to 1.09, well above average. (“zero” indicates average growth over the 1990-present period) but cooling somewhat compared to the run-up at the end of 2017.

Together, these indicators suggest ongoing growth in Oregon at an above average pace of activity.

This monthly economic report made possible through KeyBank

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Bob Clark May 10, 2018

It looks like the stock market is beginning to feel its oats again after taking the last three months off from steady year long climb in 2017. Prez Trump might be unleashing the “animal spirits” of investment ventures; and yet the consumer price index today came in around the 2% mark for acceptable annual inflation. One dark cloud is increasing gasoline/oil prices. The Iran sanctions take some oil off the market; and basket case Venezuela might cause another significant drop in global oil supply. All this against steady increases in U.S oil production. If the GOP were a bit strategic, the President releases some Strategic Petroleum Reserve oils to counteract some of the oil supply losses from Iran and Venezuela.

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