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Portland having economic renaissance

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Portland is no longer "where young people go to retire."

The recession of 2001 had a long-lasting effect on the labor market, but nationally it was among the shallowest on record in the postwar period. The Portland region, by contrast, suffered a spike in joblessness that was much more severe than the national average, and it didn’t bounce back any faster than the rest of the country. At the national labor market’s 2003 nadir, joblessness in the Portland area was nearly 50 percent higher than the national average. Given the long and severe nature of the jobs crisis, it’s no surprise that labor-force participation rates slumped. Then, just as Portland was converging with the national economy and finally getting back to health, the Great Recession of 2008 hit. Here again, Portland’s joblessness rate spiked higher and faster than the national average. But the gap wasn’t nearly as large as it had been previously. What’s more, this time around, Portland fell harder but also bounced back faster. And over the past year, Portland’s unemployment rate has fallen to below the national average. Joblessness is still high nationally, so conditions in the Portland area hardly feel like a local miracle. But in relative terms, the turnaround is striking. National unemployment is still about two percentage points higher today than at its post-dot-com peak in 2003, while Portland's unemployment is one point lower.

Read more at Slate.

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