Oregon Economic Index shows steady 8 month rise

Tim Duy,

University of Oregon State of Oregon Economic Indicators
September 7, 2021

Below is the University of Oregon State of Oregon Economic Indicators for July 2021. The release date is September 7, 2021. Special thanks to our sponsor, KeyBank.

In July the Oregon economy continued to recover from last year’s pandemic induced recession. Highlights of the report include:

  • The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose from 0.34 to 0.72 while the moving average measure, which smooths out the monthly volatility, was 0.47 (where 0.0 is the average pace of growth since 1990). Employment components made strong contributions to the overall measure. Overall, Oregon employment rose by 20,000 in July compared to a monthly average of 9,100 per month during the first half of the year.
  • The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators rose 0.4% in July while the June gain was revised upward to 0.3%. The UO Index has risen for eight consecutive months.
  • Initial unemployment claims fell again, continuing to move in a positive direction although still above pre-pandemic levels. Employment services payrolls, mostly temporary help employment, rose sharply to above pre-pandemic levels; this suggests gains in overall employment are likely to continue.
  • Housing units permitted rose; note the multifamily housing has rebounded from weakness experienced earlier in the pandemic. The weight distance tax (a measure of trucking activity) and new orders for core manufactured capital goods (adjusted for inflation) both declined modestly after a period of strong gains. The interest rate spread narrowed due to declining rates on U.S. treasury bonds; the spread remains consistent with continued economic expansion.

I anticipate that continued growth in the Oregon economy will help the state recover the jobs lost during the pandemic. Still, as we have experienced in recent months, the pandemic is not entirely behind us. The current wave of Covid cases, for example, likely depressed growth in August and will push some firms to delay plans to return to the office. Successive waves of Covid, however, will likely cause fewer disruptions as the economy continues to adapt to the virus.

Link to full report (with charts!) here.

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