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|Wednesday, October 28, 2009|
The latest numbers show that Oregon has lost 124,300 jobs since I took this job in December of 2007. Clearly my writing is not good for the state’s economy. So forgive me if I dispense with the cheerleading and point out a few observations that give me reason for concern.
It starts with the banks. Lake Oswego-headquartered West Coast Bank is the latest to receive an ominously worded “cease and desist” order from the FDIC. That makes three important regional banks struggling for survival, if you add Columbia River Bank of The Dalles and Bank of the Cascades in Bend. Plus the complex situation of ShoreBank Pacific, which is wholly owned by a holding company operating under a cease and desist order of its own. These banks have to improve their capital positions or else, and that means they will be more reluctant to loan than ever.
Then there’s retail. Is it me or is the premature Christmas glitter looking even more desperate than usual this season? I realize that retail drives the economy, 70% of which is based on consumer spending. But is it really the duty of every American to purchase all the world’s plastic junk? Consumers lack confidence for a reason. With so many companies cutting costs, salaries and jobs, how much longer can consumers be expected to over-spend?
Next, there’s politics. I don’t like to write about politics, so I will keep it brief. The revived effort to kick Sam Adams out of office is not helpful. Can we please move past this?
Finally, there is my own profession, journalism. The latest circulation figures show that the Oregonian’s 12% drop was actually good compared to some of its peers. That is pathetic. The nation has lost thousands of journalism jobs over the past year, a trend that is bad for democracy as well as the economy. Does anyone really believe that citizen journalists will fill the gap by breaking stories about the CIA’s payments to Hamid Karzai’s drug-dealing brother? I don’t see that happening. It’s one thing to overhear a political blunder and blog it out, and quite another to dig up unpleasant truths about people in power.
Forgive my pessimism. Perhaps if the Dow would pop over 10,000 and stay there for, say, three days in a row, I would get over it.
Besides, the evidence would seem to indicate that the the relationship between the optimistic tone of previous Jobs Watch posts and actual gains in the state economy is inversely proportional. Perhaps the same will hold true in reverse.
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Yesterday, a divided National Labor Relations Board dropped another hammer on the employer community. In a long-awaited and much debated move, the Board jettisoned the decades old standard for determining when two independent businesses should be considered joint employers of an individual worker for collective bargaining purposes.
Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.