Information provided by Timothy Duy
The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators for February 2009 was released on April 6. The Index showed a decline of 0.9% to 85.6. Leading indicators followed were jobless numbers, housing permits, investment capital, and consumer confidence.
The initial jobless claims rose in February, reversing some improvement from the previous month. The level of initial claims is consistent with ongoing, substantial declines in nonfarm payrolls. Likewise, declining payrolls for employment services firms points to a further weakening of Oregon’s job market.
New permits for residential housing fell to the bottom of the recent range, suggesting the pace of deterioration has moderated. Still, it would be premature to conclude that housing markets have reached a bottom.
The general trend for investment in new capital had some gains, though they were weak. New orders for nondefense non-aircraft capital goods rose. These gains need to be considered in light of a steep drop the previous month. Similarly, a measure of trucking activity declined.
Consumer confidence remains consistent. Spending remains weak but there are indications that it has stabilized after a sharp drop in the second half of 2008
The depth, duration, and breadth of declines across indicators continues to indicate that the Oregon economy remains mired in recession.
Timothy Duy is the Director, Oregon Economic Forum Director in the Undergraduate Advising Department of Economics at the University of Oregon. The Index is produced with the support of KeyBank