2014 Oregon Economic Forum — Save the Date October 16, 2014

(mostly) Beyond Macroeconomics

October 16, 2014
Portland Art Museum
07:30am – 10:30am
Doors open at 7am – Breakfast is served.
$60 per person / $440 for a table of eight

Registration now available!

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Believe it or not, the current economic expansion will be five years old this summer, making the recession something of a distant memory.  Of course, the business cycle is not dead – at best it is just in remission.  That remission provides an excellent opportunity for this year’s Oregon Economic Forum to address a broader array of issues, including the impacts of marijuana legalization and the pattern of migration that may shape Oregon’s economy in the future.  In addition, we are excited to have Doug Elliott, Wall Street veteran currently with the Brookings Institution, to give his insights into the job Wall Street should be doing for Main Street.  But we won’t ignore the business cycle entirely!  Forum Director Tim Duy kicks off our annual event with his thoughts on the shape and length of the current expansion.

Speakers:

Tim Duy, Director, Oregon Economic Forum, University of Oregon
“Economic Review and Preview”

Ben Hansen, Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
“Implications of Legalizing:  Evidence From Medicinal Marijuana”

Mark McMullen, State Economist, Oregon Office of Economic Analysis
“Destination Oregon”

Doug Elliott, Brookings Institute
“Making Wall Street Work for Main Street” (Keynote)

Detailed list of speakers and topics available here!

Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor KeyBank, our silver sponsor the Portland Business Journal, and our bronze sponsors the Port of Portland, Providence Health Plan, Langley, and the Portland Business Alliance.

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June 2014 Oregon Regional Economic Indexes

The June 2014 Oregon Regional Economic Indexes of  was released today.  Full report is available here.  We thank KeyBank for their generous support of this project.

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Economic activity across regional economies was mixed in June, with the construction employment component a significant drag on most measures. Employment data, however, tends to be volatile, and subsequent revisions of the data are likely to minimize some of the recent weakness.  Highlights of the release include:

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Heading Into Jackson Hole

The Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole conference is next week, and all eyes are looking for signs that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will continue to chart a dovish path for monetary policy well into next year.  Indeed, the conference title itself -  ”Re-Evaluating Labor Market Dynamics” – points in that direction, as it emphasizes a topic that is near and dear to Yellen’s heart.  My expectation is that no hawkish surprises emerge next week.  Despite continued improvement in labor markets, Yellen will push the Fed to hold back on aggressively tightening monetary policy.  And with inflation still below target, wage growth constrained, and inflation expectations locked down, she holds all the leverage to make that happen….

Continue reading at Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

Fed Hawks Squawk

How much leeway does Fed Chair Janet Yellen have in her campaign to hold interest rates low for a considerable period after asset purchases end later this year?  If you listen to Fed hawks, you would believe that she is quickly running out of room.  Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher argued that the liftoff date for interest rates is creeping forward.  From Reuters:

“I think the committee, as I listen to them and I can only speak for myself around that table during two days of discussion, is coming in my direction, so I didn’t feel the need to dissent,” Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said on Fox Business Network.

“We are going to have to move the date of liftoff further forward than had been projected the last time we issued the ‘dots’” he said, referring to the official Fed forecasts for short-term interest rates, last issued in June.

At the time of the June FOMC meeting, the most recent read on the unemployment rate was 6.3% (May), while the July rate was just a nudge lower at 6.2%.  The inflation rate (core-PCE) at the time of the June FOMC meeting was 1.43% (April), compared to 1.49% in June.  So the Fed is arguably just a little closer to its goals, but enough to dramatically move forward the dots just yet?  Not sure about that, but a downward lurch of unemployment in the next report would likely elicit a reaction in the dots.  If the dots don’t move, Fisher promises a dissent at the next FOMC meeting…

Continue reading at Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

In The News: New York Times

From the New York Times:

The Fed’s chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, and her allies have taken a more cautious view, arguing that the decline in the unemployment rate appears to overstate the improvement in the labor market, because it counts only people who are looking for work. Ms. Yellen has said she expects some people who dropped out of the labor force to return as the economy continues to improve, and she has pointed to tepid wage growth as evidence that it remains easy to find workers.

“The recovery is not yet complete,” she told Congress this month.

The statement suggested that the committee continued to back Ms. Yellen’s view, said Tim Duy, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon.

“The committee as a whole is still willing to give Yellen the benefit of the doubt,” Mr. Duy said. “And honestly they have good reason. Until you get upward pressure on wages, it is terribly difficult to say that she’s wrong.”

In recent conversations with Oregon businesses, Mr. Duy said, he heard repeatedly that it was becoming harder to hire workers, but also that businesses were unwilling to offer higher wages as an inducement, because they doubted their ability to recoup the cost through increased sales or higher prices.

Full article here.