Posted by: Josh Lehner | January 6, 2012

Oregon Indexes, November 2011

Busy week as we begin the next forecast cycle in the office with a scheduled release date of February 8, 2012. Just wanted to post a quick update on leading indicators in Oregon. Note that our office’s OILI is updated through November, however the most recent release available online for the University of Oregon Economic Indicators is October.

On a 6 month basis, OILI is nearly back to zero growth following a decline through the middle of the year. The largest positive indicators in recent month include: Oregon Housing Permits, Unemployment Insurance Claims and Industrial Production. Oregon Withholding, Help Wanted Ads and PDX Air Freight are also contributing positively. Conversely the Semiconductor Book-to-Bill ratio, Oregon Dollar Index and Consumer Sentiment have weakened the Index in recent months.

On an individual month basis OILI has increased each of the past 3 months and has recovered approximately half of the decline during mid-2011. Expectations are for continued, slow growth in both the leading indicators and in the Oregon economy.


  1. After overestimating state revenues consistently since the 2008 recession started, I suspect that OEA’s leading econonomic indicators should be revised to .include the factors highlighted previously to the Legislature that are contributing to slower than previously anticipated economic growth….e.g., CA’s inmigration falling off due to relatively fewer job openings in Oregon or to the estimates of the share of home mortgages that are underwater in CA?

    • Regarding the strength of growth, of course this expansion has been sub par compared to historical recoveries and roughly in-line with other financial crises, unfortunately. The main usefulness of our Index, and many in the genre, is it is designed to identify turning points in the economy and not the strength or magnitude of the growth. Our office has worked to better the index over the past decade, including adding, creating or removing individual indicators. Specifically, our office created an Oregon-specific trade weighted dollar index based on the state’s trading patterns, our office incorporated better business activity related data (the Port of Portland statistics) and continue to evaluate further changes. As far as Oregon growth in general, I completely agree that the population growth (specifically in-migration) issue is fundamental to the state. The fact that Oregon has had below 1% population growth in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (our office is also forecasting this to continue in 2012 and 2013) has put a damper on growth. While the state continues to be one of the largest in-migration states in terms of inflows relative to outflows the whole level of migration has slowed with the housing crash and the recession.

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