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April 26, 2010

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Consumers spending, trade improving

Some economists estimate consumer spending in the first three months of the year is up 4%.

The nationwide trend is evident in Portland as well, where companies like Columbia Sportswear are seeing improvement.

A year ago, Columbia Sportswear, the Portland-based apparel brand, was turning away some retail customers whose finances seemed worrisome. Now, Columbia has one of its largest order backlogs.

“People saw that the world didn’t come to an end,” said Timothy P. Boyle, Columbia’s president and chief executive. “Maybe they just said, ‘Hey, I can at least spend a little bit of money.’”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

Summer brings jobs to Coos County

Major employers and smaller businesses alike are creating hundreds of jobs in Coos County to accommodate the upcoming tourist season.

Oregon tourism improved in March over the same period last year, and the trend is expected to continue throughout the year, according to Katherine Hoppe, director of promotion and conventions for the Coos Bay-North Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Though Coos County’s unemployment rate edged upward last month to 12.1%, Dena Miles, human resources director at The Mill Casino-Hotel, also says the economy is showing encouraging signs. The Mill has 20 openings to fill, which is above average for this time of year.

“We want to make sure we’re staffed appropriately for the summer,” Miles said.

Read the full story at The World Link.

Bend keeps attracting business

The downturn hasn't stopped companies from moving to Bend and other parts of Oregon.

The arrival of new businesses upholds a longterm trend of people and companies moving to Oregon. The migration has continued through many downturns, including the present one.

Over the last 50 years, the number of people moving to Oregon has outpaced the number moving out in all but three years: 1982, 1983 and 1986, a period during one of the worst recessions in state history. The migration to Oregon has continued at varying levels through lesser economic downturns since 1960, at least from a statewide perspective, according to figures from the Population Research Center at Portland State University. Migration to Central Oregon, however, has slowed, and recent estimates suggest more people may be leaving Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties than are moving in.

Not all those who move to the state start businesses or bring their companies with them, but the migration has always included a brand of entrepreneur like [Andrea Perkins of Katnip Tree Co].

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

PremierWest bounces back from the brink

PremierWest shares closed above the $1 mark on Friday for the first time since Feb. 1.

The recovering stock price is a sign of hope for the Medford bank, which needs to improve its shares in order to continue being traded on NASDAQ.

Although shares topped the $1 mark during inter-day trading earlier this week, they finished those sessions below the pivotal plateau.

NASDAQ informed PremierWest Bancorp on March 15 that it was out of compliance. The letter told PremierWest that its stock needed to close above $1 for 10 consecutive sessions during the next 180 days in order to return to the exchange's good graces.

Read the full story at the Mail Tribune.

OIT eyes new location

Oregon Institute of Technology is close to signing a deal to move into the former InFocus building in Wilsonville.

The new location will consolidate programs from four sites in the Portland area and add to Wilsonsville's already-thriving tech cluster.

"Everything has moved very quickly, but in a very positive way," said OIT President Chris Maples, a driving force behind the deal to acquire a four-story, 131,000-square-foot office building. "We're excited."

So are neighboring high-tech businesses, some of them so close they literally will share parking lots with the university.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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