Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Reblog: Poverty and progress, Oregon update edition

In order to not bury the lede regarding the 2016 ACS data, Oregon’s household income and poverty numbers look very good. I don’t want to oversell the data, but they are among the best readings in Oregon’s modern history. The underlying, or internal dynamics behind the topline data are even better. This does not mean the economy is perfect, or without issues. We know there remain substantial problems and challenges. It does mean, however, that considerable progress has been made during the current economic expansion following the financial crisis.

Josh Lehner shares his analysis of the 2016 American Community Survey data recently released by the U.S. Census. The data from last year are predominantly good, and indicative of positive economic trends in the state since the depth of the recession. Read more here.

If you’d like to take a peek at the survey data for yourself, you’ll find downloadable data files here and here.

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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: Summer 2017 Economic Recovery Scorecard

Top level economic measures never tell the whole story. Knowing how many jobs have been added is important but it alone cannot tell you if job growth is enough to keep pace with population growth, or about the types of jobs being added and so forth. That is why a few years ago we introduced the Economic Recovery Scorecard which showed the progress made across nearly 40 different measures.

Josh Lehner at OEA examines Oregon’s post recession recovery, using indicators from the proportion of 18-34 year olds living at home, to bankruptcy filing stats and SNAP usage. Read more here.

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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis ReBlog: About that 1% revenue growth…

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. Oregon leads the nation in revenue growth. It sounds reasonable doesn’t it? Oregon’s economy is more volatile overall and generally outperforms the typical state. In recent years we’ve been Top 10 for employment, personal income, and state GDP growth, so naturally revenues would follow suit. Well, not so fast.

Josh Lehner with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis outlines why recent reports on above average revenue growth in Oregon are misleading, and why verifying data is so important to ensuring that the information we share and use does indeed reflect reality. He also shares a bit about how the framing of data can influence the message it carries:

…there are two general statements about state revenues making the rounds. The first talks about changes from before the Great Recession through today. This is the correct way to look at the situation. The second one compares revenue growth from the depths of the crisis through today, measuring growth just in the expansion to date. This is neither a good nor useful way to measure revenue growth. Some states and some revenue streams are more volatile. Only measuring changes over part of the cycle simply muddies the water and does not lend itself to being helpful.

As auditors, we collect and use a great deal of information in the course of our audit work. Having the essential facts is powerful and informs our findings and recommendations. We take great care to ensure that we are truly learning from the data collected, and not superimposing any preformed conclusions (the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’) onto it- in other words, framing data to suit an end goal. Not everyone is so careful, but we are happy to see that the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis vigilantly adheres to the facts and how those facts are shared. Go Team! Read more here.



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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis RePost: May 2017 Forecast

As the peak season for income tax collections winds down, it has become clear that Oregon has enjoyed a good year. Although revenue trends are not as strong as what was seen earlier in the economic expansion, Oregon and its Western neighbors continue to lead the way in terms of revenue growth. A large majority of states are dealing with disappointing revenue growth that has failed to match their budget projections. In Oregon, revenue growth has outstripped expectations, putting our unique kicker law into play.

While revenue growth in Oregon has slowed down in recent months, our state economy is healthy and comparatively robust. Keep tabs on Oregon revenue trends here.

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Office of Economic Analysis ReBlog: Oregon, Diversity and the Middle East

All told, my classification of Arab or Middle Eastern ancestry shows that 2.8 million U.S. residents, or just over 1 percent identifies as such. Here in Oregon the figures are 27,000 and 0.8 percent. To help put those figures in perspective here in Oregon, that’s roughly equivalent to a city the size of Redmond or Tualatin, or slightly larger than Union or Wasco counties.

Oregon isn’t known for being a particularly diverse state. According to the Office of Economic Analysis, despite an uptick in domestic migration, when it comes to inbound migration from other parts of the world, Oregon still lags behind many other states. However, Oregon’s overall diversity is increasing at a faster rate than some other states (due perhaps in part to our relatively small and relatively homogenous population- we have more room for growth and change, and that growth and change may be more apparent).

The Office of Economic Analysis looks into the numbers behind some of these demographic trends in this post.

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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Reblog: Oregon County Update, September 2016


Checking in on employment across Oregon’s counties reveals a number of encouraging trends. First, in recent years, job growth has returned to all regions of the state. Every region and every single county has seen some gains from the depths of the Great Recession. That said, the growth has not been evenly distributed of course. Painting with a broad brush shows that urban Oregon has outperformed rural Oregon, even as the latter is now up to 80 percent recovered overall.

Read more at: Oregon County Update, September 2016 — Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Reblog: Oregon median household income rises (finally)

The big economic news last week wasn’t our office’s forecast, but the big jump in median household incomes nationwide… In fact, per the CPS data, the largest percentage increases in incomes were seen at the lower end of the income spectrum. This coincided with a relatively large decline in the poverty rate as well, as would be expected. Overall certainly good news and a welcome reprieve from lackluster to declining incomes in recent years. What is driving the results?

According to Josh Lehner (and Jed Kolko writing for Calculated Risk), a combination of rising earnings and rising employment have contributed to increases in median household income. Read more here to find out more, and visit the Office of Economic Analysis here.


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