Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Measure of Economic Activity in Oregon

Each month Oregon Economic Forum releases the University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators. The latest release shows an increase of 0.2 percent to 89.1 in September. This slight upturn breaks five consecutive months of UO Index declines.

However, author Tim Duy notes in the September summary that the index has fallen by 5.8 percent (annualized) over the last six months. Duy indicates that declines of this magnitude have foreshadowed labor market recessions in the past, and that planning for the next year should include the ability to react quickly should economic conditions deteriorate.

The UO Index has also expanded, and now includes the new Oregon Measure of Economic Activity! Where the UO Index is -- as its name indicates -- a measure indexed to 1997, the Oregon Measure of Economic Activity is zero-based. A measure above zero indicates above-average economic activity for the state, while a measure below zero reflects below-average activity. The Oregon Measure of Economic activity improved from -1.12 to -0.78 between August and September. The three-month moving average also showed improvement over the period, from -1.13 to -1.03.

While an improvement, the summary emphasizes that these numbers still indicate growth well below the 1990-2011 growth trend. Duy mentions manufacturing, construction, household, and services sectors as contributors to the statewide economic weakness.

Read more in the full State of Oregon Economic Indicators

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