The April 2015 State of Oregon Economic Indexes of was released today. Full report is available here. We thank KeyBank for their generous support of this project.
Oregon’s economic growth remained above average in April. Highlights of the report include:
- The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose in April from a downwardly revised March number. The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, was 0.42, where “zero” for this measure indicates average growth over the 1990-present period. The manufacturing, household, and services sectors contributed positively to the measure.
- Like last month, the construction sector’s contribution was negative, held down by below average residential permits and a decline in construction employment. In contrast, solid jobs gains supported the manufacturing sector.
- Low levels of initial unemployment claims, a low unemployment rate, and above-average consumer sentiment all helped the household sector make a positive contribution to the measure. Still, weak labor force numbers are largely canceling out the positive impact of declining unemployment on the measure. Service sector components were generally positive for the month, although a drop in financial sector employment adversely impacted the numbers.
- The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators fell 0.3% in March; such declines are not unusual during more mature economic expansions. Most indicators were little to effectively unchanged during the month.
- Residential building permits (smoothed) fell again. Although home sales are robust in many parts of the state, this has yet to translate into more normal levels of new construction. The Oregon weight distance tax (a measure of trucking activity) and core manufacturing orders (a national indicator) both gained during the month. Average weekly hours worked in manufacturing fell, but overall continues to track within an above-average range.
The two indicators suggest ongoing growth in Oregon at an above average pace of activity. The ongoing US economic expansion provides sufficient support to expect that Oregon’s economy will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.