July 2014 Statewide Measures of Economic Activity

The July 2014 State of Oregon Economic Indicators is now available here.  Special thanks to KeyBank for their generous support of this project.


The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rebounded from a drop in June.  Highlights of the report include:

  • The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose to -0.12  compared to a revised -0.55 the previous month. The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, is 0.09 where “zero” for this measure indicates the average growth rate over the 1990-present period.  The near average reading in the measure reflects weaker employment data in many sectors in recent months.
  • Bolstered by solid employment growth and hours worked, the manufacturing sector contributed positively to the measure. In contrast, the construction sector made a negative contribution due to job declines and a fairly tepid pace of new housing permits compared with previous expansions.
  • Initial unemployment claims, labor force growth, and employment services jobs (largely temporary workers) all contributed positively while the unemployment rate made a neutral contribution.  Weakness in many employment numbers is evident in the negative pressure on the service sector.  As always, employment data are subject to possible revisions.
  • The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators rose 0.5% in July. Initial unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since February of 2006. In addition, employment services jobs rebounded from a modest decline in May and June. Combined, these indicators suggest that the recent softness in overall employment numbers is most likely temporary.
  • Residential building permits (smoothed) gained slightly; although permits have rebounded from a soft path in 2013, they remain below levels normally associated with economic expansions in Oregon.  The Oregon weight distance tax, a measure of trucking activity rose while new orders for core manufacturing goods edged down after posting a strong gain in June.

Taking into account the volatility of the employment data, the two indicators suggest continued growth in Oregon at an average to above average pace of activity.