August 31, 2015 - The Economy: A Light in the Black

by Jason Norris, CFA,Executive Vice President of Research Ferguson Wellman, Portland A Light in the Black What a week! With concerns about growth in China, continued deterioration of the Chinese equity market and U.S. investors rushed to the sidelines by redeeming over $17 billion in equity mutual funds and ETFs. This, coupled with concern over when the Fed will raise rates, led U.S. equities to experience a 12 percent correction from recent highs on Tuesday (see last week’s blog for more detail). This was long overdue as it had been almost four years since the S&P 500 had corrected by at least 10 percent, which was the third longest period in history. However, after six consecutive days of selling, on Wednesday the near-term bottom was reached on the S&P at […]

August 28, 2015 - Alert over “Fair Pay” rule implementation

U.S. Chamber of Commerce The U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted comments sharply criticizing the administration’s proposed Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) regulation and proposed Department of Labor guidance that would implement Executive Order 13673, “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.” “This rulemaking steps well outside the bounds of any constitutional or statutory support and is unnecessary since strong protections are already in place.” said Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber. “Our comments argue that these proposed rules are an improper attempt to usurp legislative powers from Congress, would increase the cost of federal contracting and ultimately create more burdens for taxpayers. Additionally, the proposed implementation of the executive order creates a highly complex, dispersed, and cumbersome set of standards and a […]

August 27, 2015 - Dave’s Killer Bread sold for $275M…Now what?

Dave’s Killer Bread Being Sold By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation Dave’s Killer Bread, the best-selling organic bread in the nation, is being sold to Flower Foods, Inc. for $275 million. The company, founded by the Dahl family as Nature Bake in 1955, assumed the name of its best-selling variety after Dave’s Killer Bread launched as an instant success at the Portland Farmer’s Market in 2005. Offering 17 varieties of whole-grain organic bakery products across the U.S. and Canada, Dave’s Killer Bread is the largest organic bread company in North America and is certified USDA organic and non-GMO Project verified. The company employs over 300 people in Milwaukie, OR and will remain as an independent subsidiary of the operation with plans to expand.

August 26, 2015 - Chart: Uneven job recovery across Oregon

Oregon Employment Department, Recently, we posted about the recovery of Oregon’s jobs to pre-recession levels across higher-, lower-, and mid-wage industries alike in the fourth quarter of 2014. We also mentioned that Oregon’s total nonfarm employment also returned to (and exceeded) pre-recession levels in the fourth quarter.

August 25, 2015 - Oregon NFIB hires new director

By Oregon NFIB America’s largest and leading small-business association today named its new Oregon state director. In selecting Anthony K. Smith, the National Federation of Independent Business, which has 350,000 dues-paying members across the nation, including 7,500 in Oregon, went with an Oregon native who has extensive political experience and a deep knowledge of state issues affecting small businesses. “Anthony Smith has a strong track record in organizing small-business owners into a cohesive and effective lobbying and political force” said Daniel Markels, west region state public policy director for NFIB. “He’ll make a superb advocate for the people who employ more working Oregonians and generate almost every new job in the state.”

August 24, 2015 - Portland streets shrink as population grows

By Economist Dr. Eric Fruits, Econinternational It’s not an illusion. Portland traffic is getting worse: Longer drive times, more congestion, angrier drivers, and “active transportation” that should be renamed “aggressive transportation.” And, it’s no accident. It’s all part of the City’s Vision Zero plan for transportation. One consequence of Vision Zero is that while Portland’s population is growing, its street network is shrinking. Miles go missing on Portland streets In a Friday afternoon bad news dump, the Portland Bureau of Transportation revealed (PDF) that the city’s streets have deteriorated over the past year (more on that in another post). The miles of unpaved streets and streets in “poor” or “very poor” condition have increased by 3 percent since last year.

August 21, 2015 - Business fee scam grows

By Oregon Better Business Bureau Own or work at a small business? Be on the look out for a scam that attempts to fool businesses into paying fees to stay in compliance with government regulations that don’t even exist. How the Scam Works: You receive an official-looking letter in the mail. It’s labeled something like “Notice of Potential Compliance Violation,” “Certificate of Good Standing Request Form” or “Annual Letter Solicitation Form,” and it looks like a document from the state or provincial government. The mailing informs you that, in order to be in compliance with a regulation, you need to fill out the attached form and send it back with $125.

August 20, 2015 - Labor Board dismisses NW University union case

By Bullard Law, Portland law firm By Michael G. McClory Ahead of the opening kickoff for the 2015 college football season, the National Labor Relations Board has punted.  The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.  The dismissal, though, ducked the most contested aspect of the matter: whether scholarship students playing on the Northwestern University football team are statutory employees within the meaning of Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act. As previously detailed by The Bullard Edge and Bullard Alert, the College Athletes Players Association, a group affiliated with the United Steelworker Union, filed a representation petition with the Region 13 Director in Chicago.  CAPA was attempting to become the elected bargaining representative for scholarship students playing on the Northwestern University […]

August 19, 2015 - Oregon jobless reverts to post-recession trend

By Josh Lehner Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog Just a quick update on the employment report. See our friends over at the Employment Department for the official release. The latest employment report for Oregon shows healthy job gains from the employer survey in July but a large increase in the unemployment rate from the household survey. What’s going on here? The first answer is always that real time survey data is noisy. It will be revised and benchmarked over the coming months. The second answer, from a purely atheoretical perspective, the unemployment rate is simply reverting to the post-Great Recession trend. The plunge in the unemployment rate in early 2015 likely overstated the improvements in the economy, even with job growth at full-throttle. The large increases in the past […]

August 18, 2015 - Legislature was tough on small business

Oregon NFIB Small business owners faced an onslaught of new proposals and laws from 2015 legislators. “Oregon’s 2015 legislative session became one of the most anti-business sessions in recent history,” says NFIB/Oregon State Director Jan Meekcoms. “For small business, this became a session of defensive action.” The regular session ended July 6 after lawmakers passed several mandates that will affect small business owners. With a Democratic supermajority in the House and a heavy Democratic majority in the Senate, several laws were passed without one affirmative vote from the Republican Party.