Oregon's recovery from what many describe as the worst recession in U.S. history is showing some promising signs of recovery but quite a bit slower than anyone wants to see. That was the basic message in a well presented talk Thursday night from economics professor Dr. Tom Potiowski from Portland State University. The former Oregon State Economist says that most indicators show the state on track for a full recovery by 2015 but that means we'll be back to how the economy looked in 2007 minus a full return to high house prices.
Potiowsky, speaking before a group of local business people at Columbia Memorial Hosital's community conference center in Astoria, disagreed that the latest recession was the worst ever. He had the charts to prove it looking at various indicators at various points in our modern economic history stretching back to 1929. He said that the recession periods in the earlly 1980's were much deeper than the current recession economy in some ways for Oregon. He said as things stand nationally Oregon has the 39th fastest recovery rate among states. He talked about the negative impact of very low housing starts on the the Oregon timber industry and the overall effects of the housing bubble which he says is a major contributing factor to the speed of the recovery and pointed to some recent stats that indicate home values seem to be increasing but slower than during past recovery periods.
Potiowski took issue with the federal government taking over employment statistics pointing to some of the big swings in corrections to jobless figures that would not have happened if the states were still doing that job. He explained that in one recent case when the Feds reported Oregon had lost 7900 jobs in a one month period and then came back a month later and reported the loss was actually 790 jobs it throws doubt on just how accurate that stat actually is at any given time. The state would know better, he said, because sometimes major employers will miss a deadline on reporting their individual numbers the state economists understand that and adjust for it where the feds would not.
National debt was also addressed and the professor says that at this point Congress must address the debt with a bi-partisan plan. They really have little choice in order to avoid going over the 'fiscal cliff" and becoming the political party to blame.
The forum was sponsored by Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Foundation Healthworks program. The program offers a number of benefits to businesses that take a membership. memberships start at $500 annually with the funds supporting projects of the CMH foundation
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