The February 2016 State of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes of was released today. Full report is available here. We thank KeyBank for their generous support of this project.
The ongoing economic expansion continues to be felt in all of Oregon’s major metro regions in February. Highlights of the report include:
- All regions now consistently post numbers (the moving average measures of activity, which smooth monthly volatility) indicating above average growth. Recall that “zero” for these measures indicates relative average growth; each region has its own underlying growth rate.
- Home construction, measured by new housing permits, remains tepid for most regions relative to past economic expansions. The Bend region was an outlier for February, with a strong positive contribution from permits. Permits had a neutral contribution in the Portland metro area and negative in remaining regions.
- Housing sales, however, remain a very positive component, indicating significant demand; expect continued home price appreciation if supply continues to lag.
- Most labor market components contributed positively in all regions. Low levels of initial unemployment claims and low unemployment are particularly supportive of the measures.
- Labor force growth has generally rebounded in recent months, consistent with growth of new residents and person previously not seeking employment entering the labor force. Labor force growth and employment growth reinforce each other to create a very dynamic economic environment typically experienced in Oregon during sustained expansions.
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.