Sponsored by Energy Trust

The 2012 economic forecast

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Dennie Houle, a business development officer working on the northern Oregon Coast for Business Oregon, says the smaller coastal towns have their own struggles, but promising opportunities have begun to sprout. A stronger fishing industry in Alaska and across the Pacific has recently helped spark the coast’s ship repair business. Portland General Electric has proposed a new natural-gas-fired generation plant in Clatskanie, and the Port of Newport is in the middle of a $10 million project that will add a new commercial fishing dock and a log crane to help load logs being exported from Oregon.

“In some ways, folks are cautiously thinking that the corner maybe has been turned,” Houle says. “I think they see some growth in the next year.”

In Southern Oregon, Holzgang sees a similar outlook and scene. Although Panel Products, a Milwaukie plywood company, closed its Rogue River mill in 2009, Eugene-based Murphy Co. bought it in early 2010 and has since reopened it. It now employs more than 100. Radio Design Group, a small radio frequency products company, also broke ground on a new headquarters and manufacturing center in Grants Pass in April. When completed, the new building will accommodate Radio Design’s plans for growth, including 15 new employees.

“There are little pockets of bright spots where people are having some luck,” Houle says. “I think that we’ll continue to find those as we move into the new year.”

Other companies, he adds, may not be hiring or doing as well as they once did, but they’ve continued to invest in equipment and facilities so that they’re ready to go if and when the tide does finally turn.

One other factor that could also impact the business and economic climate in Oregon in 2012 is the Legislature. Revenue for the biennium was forecasted at $13.9 billion in September and was expected to remain flat or just slightly lower at the next forecast in November. Beyond that, however, Deckert says a few major votes could have long-term impacts.

The first concerns Oregon’s efforts at health-care transformation and would approve the creation of Coordinated Care Organizations to serve the state’s Medicaid population. The CCOs could alter how health care is delivered in Oregon and potentially save a decent sum of cash. The Legislature is also expected to review and potentially approve the business plan for the state’s health insurance exchange [see Diagnosis Unknown], which might also play a role in curbing health-care costs long-term. Deckert says the Legislature also will likely consider proposals and legislation brought by the Oregon Education Investment Board. Established last spring, the OEIB is charged with creating a new governance system for investing in and delivering public education, which will ultimately have impacts on businesses and the economy here as well.

“Some state in this country is going to have to show that you can govern effectively and still take on tough issues that can have a huge impact on the economy and on businesses,” Deckert says. “We think Oregon can be the state that does that.”

Jon Bell is a Portland-based journalist. His last story was on Mount Hood. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 



 

More Articles

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

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


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS