Southern Oregon Business Conference

Josh Lehner, Oregon Office of Economic Analysis:

Any time you see a massive recession, such as what Southern Oregon went through, you look for where the growth is coming from.

From Portland to Sacramento, only a couple of counties that have outperformed Jackson County in last 10 years. Once close to Sacramento, that’s where you begin to find ones with more growth.

Jackson/Josephine is really one big labor market.

A couple of large employers, transportation and warehouses doing well providing a backbone.

Far enough away from big cities to get transportation jobs. Compared to California we offer a lot of advantages.

Two primary challenges: Ties to natural resource industry, logging wood products has suffered massively. We can export logs, but not process them.

Secondly, Oregon is getting older. Californians, 40-50, moved to Oregon in the 1990s, now we are getting older. We’re looking at a slower economic growth period because babyboomers are retiring. We need young working families, 20- and 30-year-olds.

Portland accounts for half of job growth, instead of the 90-95% a few year ago. Can we get all the regions.

Portland turned around first because of a wider range of  jobs.

Government tends to grow in line with population growth. We’ve seen a lot of pressure on public sector, disproportionately impacting rural areas.

When housing came back in Jan. 2011, the rest of the occupations followed.

Bend and Medford suffered two of the worst downturns in the country; 88% percent of the metro areas in the country had a better rate. The housing market stalled, affordability fell at end of 2013 — sticker shocks from supply and interest rates. Builders responding because deals are penciling out. No more jobs added in late 2013 because of decline of new housing.

The good news is the housing outlook is strong. We expect housing starts to rise into 2017, along with ancillary growth.

Only 10 to 15 percent of the country has seen all their manufacturing. Medford is within 5 percent of where it was.

Medford has outperformed the state in wage growth, although we have lost middle wage jobs.

If we get stronger growth at high end, then the lower wage jobs will follow.

Headquarters office produce higher benefits.

Oregonian’s come from California, mostly move to Washington.

People move here good time and bad and only lose people to states with booming economies.

The drag on the economy, an aging population that needs to be replaced.

Oregon’s timber economy has been replaced by high-technology– but most of that has been in Portland, whereas timber was heavier in Southern Oregon

System Development Charges: Hardly anything being built outside Big 5 cities. You don’t want the SDCs to get out of line with what they are supposed to cover.










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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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