Ebb tide in the Central Coast’s economy

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Oregon Coast offers a physical escape from the ordinary, but it has not escaped the state’s descent into recession, as can be seen in Lincoln County. The county’s tourism-dominated economy, concentrated in Newport and Lincoln City, lost 720 jobs from January 2008 through January 2009, nearly 4% of its payroll employment. The heaviest losses were in leisure and hospitality (-480 jobs) as established businesses, such as Tups Bar and Grill and the Kernville Steakhouse, closed. In addition, professional and business services shed 80 jobs and retail trade cut 110 positions. Not all sectors lost jobs; private educational and health services and the always-fluctuating food manufacturing industry added jobs over the past year. However, the county’s many job losses led to an increase in Lincoln County’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate — from 5.5% in January 2008 to 9.6% in January 2009 — while the county’s number of unemployed swelled by more than 1,100 people.

ERIK KNODER
WorkSource Oregon regional economist


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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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