Oregon data: Less jobs, payroll and housing permits

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Excerpts from
University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators

Economic Index drops 2%
“The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators™ continued its slide in December, falling 2 percent to 87.7 (1997=100). Compared to six months ago, the UO Index is down 10.8 percent (annualized). Weakness was widespread; six of the seven components of the index deteriorated.”

Jobless claims higher
“Oregon labor markets deteriorated in December. Initial jobless claims climbed even higher to a weekly average of more than 15,000 claims per month.

Payroll drops
“Payrolls at employment services firms (largely temporary-help agencies) continued to fall and are now down 15.4 percent compared to year-ago levels. Total nonfarm payrolls (not included in the UO Index) fell by 9,700 jobs in December. Cumulative job loss since the February 2008 peak stands at 46,700; job losses will increase significantly in the first half of 2009.”

Housing permits fall
“Residential housing permits fell in December to below 900, breaking a period of relative stability. Like much of the nation, housing markets are under stress as expectations of future price declines and tighter underwriting conditions outweigh the positive factor of lower interest rates.”

Business activity falls
“New orders for nondefense nonaircraft capital goods, adjusted for inflation, fell in December, indicating falling business investment. Similarly, the Oregon weight distance tax, a measure of trucking activity, slid as shipping declined.”