Has Oregon Ever Recovered from the Recession?

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

The headline in last week’s Oregonian read, “University of Oregon economic index shows first improvement in six months.” Unfortunately that headline is less than ten percent of the real story and, in fact, less than ten percent of the story told by the economist who released the story.

The real story is that Oregon’s economy is in terrible shape and while it may have technically recovered from the recession, in actuality it is still deeply mired in that recession. Or course neither the politicians immunized from the effects of the recession nor the Oregonian so deeply invested in the very policies that have crippled the recovery will recognize it nor discuss it.

Here’s a simple fact. Since the inauguration of President Barack Obama the number of people employed in the nation dropped by over 5 Million in the first year. After slightly over four years those job numbers have been recovered and an additional 770,000 jobs have been added. (Of course the pales in comparison to the nearly 7.7 Million jobs added by President George W. Bush from 2003 through 2007.) But not in Oregon.

From the beginning of Mr. Obama’s first term to the nadir of employment, Oregon lost nearly 67,000 jobs. But that is only a fraction of the job loss. From the beginning of the recession in 2008 Oregon lost slightly over 146,000 jobs and it is nowhere near recovering all of them.

Those who have not recovered their lost jobs, those who have entered workforce eligibility with no hope of finding a job and the merchants who depend on them understand full well the depths of the Oregon economic malaise. And their fears are quantified by the report cited in the Oregonian:

“[University of Oregon economist Tim Duy who authored the report] puts the odds of another imminent recession at better than 50 percent, said any recession would likely emerge in the first half of next year, once the U.S. starts to feel the effect of the European financial crisis.

“’I’m not looking for a severe recession, given that we haven’t really recovered from the last one,’ Duy said. ‘A recession of any magnitude would extend the pain we’re feeling — low job growth and low wage growth –and take a step backward in the improvements we’ve seen.’”

The Duy report confirms another critical element of Oregon’s faltering recovery – a definite change in the mix of jobs and not for the best. Manufacturing, construction and transportation jobs are giving way to leisure, entertainment and tourism – all notoriously poor paying positions. As the Oregonian reported:

“A new measure introduced to the monthly report, the Oregon Measure of Economic Activity, showed the state’s economic growth remains sluggish compared with the average rate of growth since 1990. The manufacturing sector approached a reading of zero — which corresponds to average growth — but stayed negative, along with the construction, household and service sectors.”

But none of this should surprise you. Oregon’s government and politics remains dominated by the Portlandia dimwits who neither know how to create nor maintain a job – or for that matter hold one either. Their priorities, which now dominate the state government priorities, remain focused on political correctness, redistribution of wealth and preservation of power. In fact, the creator of Portlandia (the savage parody of Portland’s uber left) Fred Armisen once described Portland as the place 30-year-olds go to retire. In a conversation with one of those ninnies I asked what would happen if they fell sick, ran out of money or suffered some other catastrophic event. Her response was, “Don’t worry, someone will catch me.”

And that is the attitude and foresight (not) of those who run Oregon’s government.