The September 2014 Oregon Regional Economic Indexes of was released today. Full report is available here. We thank KeyBank for their generous support of this project.
September numbers for regional measures of activity revealed some monthly volatility, but underlying trends are holding generally steady. Highlights of the report include:
- Moving average measures of activity – which smooth monthly volatility – indicate that the Portland Metro, Eugene-Springfield, and Central Oregon regions are growing near or above their average paces of activity, while the Rogue Valley and Salem areas are at somewhat below normal growth.
- Weakness in the employment components and an unusual jump in initial unemployment claims weighed on the Portland measure, pulling it into negative territory for the month. Such drops, however, are not uncommon; the underlying trend is still above average for the region.
- Generally solid employment data supported the Eugene-Springfield measure, offsetting a negative contribution from housing permits. A particularly weak housing permits number dragged down the Salem measure. While housing sales were neutral or better across the state, this component provided a particularly solid boost to the Central Oregon measure.
- Softer labor force growth weighted on many measures, particularly the Rogue Valley. While somewhat disappointing after recent strong labor force contributions to the Rogue Valley measure, note that falling unemployment rates in the region resulted in a nearly neutral contribution from that indicator.
- I anticipate the next report will be generally stronger given the large 9,900 job gain reported statewide for October.
Reminder: The regional measures are prone to potentially large swings due to the volatility of some of the underlying data, particularly measures of employment. The moving average measures smooth out much of that volatility.