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Oregon #12 in nation’s Best State Economies

October 15, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation

A strong national economy—the strongest in decades—is reflected by growth in the West Coast states, which ranked among the top 12 in a study recently conducted by 24/7 Wall Street.

While Colorado ranked first, Washington had the fifth fastest-growing economy while California was eighth and Oregon 12th. The study’s authors reviewed statistics for poverty, unemployment, job growth, college attainment and economic growth, according to an Aug. 27 USA Today story.

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Restaurant group backs Measure 104

October 12, 2018 --

By Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association

Oregon has a strong track record of enhancing tourism and creating thousands of jobs that trigger local economic growth while making Oregon a top travel destination. That is why we are supporting Measure 104 – it will ensure tax fairness for businesses and consumers.

Join the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and protect the entrepreneurial spirit that brings award-winning plates from chefs who use Oregon’s farm fresh Marionberries and hazelnuts, salmon and crab and thousands of handcrafted beers and wines.

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Boom: Oregon breaks construction record!

October 11, 2018 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s construction industry reached a record high number of jobs in recent months, employing nearly 110,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The industry added jobs steadily and rapidly in recent years, following a prolonged slump in 2009 through 2012, when employment remained near 70,000 for several years after the last recession.

Looking back 30 years, clearly the industry has been highly cyclical – experiencing booms and busts over the course of multi-year expansions that were followed by briefer, but potentially precipitous contractions. In the late 1990s the industry hovered close to 80,000 jobs for several years, dropped some jobs in a mild recession and then resumed its climb. Just before the 2008 recession, Oregon’s construction industry was slightly below today’s employment total, at about 104,000 jobs.

During the past several decades, at least since the late 1980s, Oregon’s economy and population have been on a generally expansionary trend. Population typically grew about 1 percent per year, primarily due to net in-migration – more people moving into Oregon compared with the number moving out.

Because the population has been steadily expanding, it can be helpful to look at the construction industry’s total jobs relative to overall employment. This tells us the percent of total nonfarm jobs employed by the industry. Over the past 30 years, construction has employed between 4 percent and 6 percent of Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment. The lowest share during this period occurred in 1992, when 4 percent were employed in construction. Not far behind was the period from 2010 through 2012 when about 4.2 percent of payroll jobs were found in construction.

The housing-price boom leading up to the last recession coincided with the biggest share of construction jobs, as construction employed 6 percent of all nonfarm payroll jobs during much of 2006 and 2007. Currently, Oregon’s construction industry isn’t quite as concentrated as that period, with 5.7 percent of nonfarm jobs in the industry as of July of this year.

Leading up to the past two national recessions, Oregon’s construction employment has either trended downward, as was the case in 1997 through 2000, or abruptly tanked, as occurred just prior to, and certainly during, the recession of 2008 and 2009. The good news is that construction employment in Oregon has grown quite rapidly over the past few years and hasn’t shown any sign of downturn yet.

Learn more about employment in Oregon’s construction industry, read the full article written by the Current Employment Statistics Coordinator David Cooke.
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Pay inequity lawsuit hits Oregon Legislature

October 10, 2018 --

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation

A woman who works for the Oregon Legislature as a researcher and analyst has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that she is paid less than her male counterparts with the same qualifications doing the same job.

Cheyenne Ross, a lawyer who has worked for the Legislative Policy and Research Office since 2009, had already filed a lawsuit over pay inequity in Marion County Circuit Court last summer, according to a Willamette Week article in July.

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Uninsured rate falling — but not in Oregon

October 9, 2018 --

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation,

America’s uninsured rate held essentially steady from 2016 to 2017, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau figures. Oregon, however, one of the few states to see a significant uptick in the uninsured rate.

Uninsured Oregonians make up 6.8 percent of the state’s population, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from the year before. That amounts to 30,000 more uninsured in 2017 than in 2016.

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DeFazio take on new NAFTA pact

October 8, 2018 --

Congressman Peter DeFazio,

“While I am still reviewing the text of the new trade deal, I am extremely disappointed that the Trump administration was unable to follow through on their promise to eliminate the damaging Chapter 19 provision that existed in the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” said Rep. DeFazio. “The preservation of Chapter 19 is a tremendous blow to American businesses and workers, particularly in the softwood lumber industry. For decades, Canada has used Chapter 19 to undermine U.S. trade law and challenge our anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This provision allows a foreign tribunal of private citizens to overturn U.S. trade remedies designed to level the playing field between the U.S. and the heavily-subsidized Canadian softwood lumber industry.”

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Settlement doesn’t fix swipe-fee abuse

October 5, 2018 --

By National Retail Federation

The National Retail Federation said a proposed new class action settlement, which purports to resolve claims that Visa and MasterCard set credit card swipe fees in a multi-billion dollar price-fixing scheme, largely resembles part of an agreement that both a federal appellate court and the retail industry had already rejected.

“The monetary settlement doesn’t solve the problem. Swipe fees cost retailers and their customers tens of billions of dollars a year and have been skyrocketing for nearly two decades,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Stephanie Martz said. “Ending the practices that lead to these anticompetitive fees is the only way to give merchants and consumers full relief once and for all.”

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Blazer owner, Paul Allen, sees cancer return

October 4, 2018 --

Paul Allen Press Release,

I learned recently that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that I was treated for in 2009 has returned. My team of doctors has begun treatment of the disease and I plan on fighting this aggressively.

A lot has happened in medicine since I overcame this disease in 2009. My doctors are optimistic that I will see good results from the latest therapies, as am I.

I will continue to stay involved with Vulcan, the Allen Institutes, the Seahawks and Trail Blazers, as I have in the past. I have confidence in the leadership teams to manage their ongoing operations during my treatment.

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How much will your Kicker Tax Refund be?

October 3, 2018 --

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation,

With Oregon nearly full employment and wages steadily rising, state government tax revenues are surging. For instance, compared to last year, personal income taxes are up 24%. Corporate tax payments are also up exceeding 50% increase over the same period. The revenue surge is so big that the state’s economists predict Oregonian will be getting a Kicker refund on the taxes they file in 2020. The table below shows that the average filer will get a Kicker of $336. Small business owners, who are taxed on all of their business income, are likely to get and even bigger Kicker.

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23 counties break jobless record!

October 2, 2018 --

By Oregon Employment Department,
Benton County had Oregon’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2.8 percent in August 2018. Other counties with some of the lowest unemployment rates in August included Hood River (3.0%), Washington (3.1%), and Wheeler (3.1%). Eastern and Southern Oregon had higher unemployment rates in August 2018, which were still close to their record low unemployment rates since 1990. In Oregon, twenty-three counties had record low unemployment rates in August.

Grant County registered the highest unemployment rate for the month at 6.2 percent, which was Grant’s lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1990.

Eleven of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates below the statewide unemployment rate of 3.8 percent and thirteen were at or below the national rate of 3.9 percent.

Crook and Sherman counties saw their unemployment rates improve over the year by 1.0 percentage point, more than any other county. Other counties that saw their unemployment rate decrease were Gilliam (-0.9%), Jefferson (-0.9%), and Coos (-0.8%). No county saw their unemployment rate increase in August.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose in all six of Oregon’s broad regions between August 2017 and August 2018. The largest job gains occurred in Central Oregon (+3.1%). Southern Oregon (+2.9%), the Willamette Valley (+2.6%), the Portland area (+1.7%), the Oregon Coast (+1.7%), and Eastern Oregon (0.5%) also added jobs.

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