September 2020 Oregon Statewide Economic Indicators

Good afternoon and happy Election Day! Hopefully this will help distract you while you await election results.

Below is the University of Oregon Regional Economic Indexes for September 2020. The release date is November 3, 2020. We thank KeyBank for their generous support of this project.

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The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity fell to -0.29 in September from an upwardly revised 0.44 in August.  Highlights of this month’s report include:

  • The moving average measure, which smooths out the volatility, was 0.04 which is average growth; typically, the moving average measure is above zero during expansions. Data has been volatile as the economy finds a new growth path after the stop-start dynamics of the spring and summer.
  • Falling manufacturing hours worked weighed heavily on that sectors component; this may be related to reduced activity during the wildfires. Construction employment also made a negative contribution to the measure. The services sector, in particular financial sector employment, made a positive contribution.
  • The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators fell 1.5% in September, the first decline since May. A number of indicators partially reversed the recent gains. Initial unemployment claims edged up while employment services payrolls slipped. Weaker multi-family housing permits dragged down the total number of new housing units authorized even as single-family permits held steady.
  • On the bright side, consumer sentiment firmed and new orders for core capital goods rose. The latter indicates that firms are optimistic as they continue to invest in plant and capital. The Oregon weight-distance tax, a measure of trucking activity edged down but remains in a general upward trend.
  • Data will continue to be volatile as the economy adjusts to the post-shutdown environment. The initial rebound was strong and likely set the stage for sustained economic expansion but now we are entering a period of slower growth. The ongoing pandemic prevents a full recovery at this time as certain sectors of the economy, notably leisure and hospitality, are challenged to operate in an environment of enhanced social distancing and school and day care closures have forced some working parents out of the labor force.

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Tim Duy – 541.346.4660 (w)


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