Portland Metro Area
Jobs Watch: Why we lag behind
Ben Jacklet
Tuesday, December 08, 2009

State labor economist Art Ayre took the stage before Portland’s City Club last Friday to try to explain Oregon’s persistent problem with high unemployment. It’s easy enough to understand why statewide unemployment shot up from 5 percent in early 2007 to 12 percent in early 2009. The economy was crashing and jobs were vanishing everywhere. But why was Oregon among the hardest hit, once again? Why has Oregon exceeded the national average for unemployment for 25 of the past 31 years?

Ayre would seem to be the perfect person to answer that question. He’s been Oregon’s employment economist since 1999, and he is one of the most studious and well-informed public servants we have. His inquiry into the matter ran deep and broad. But his answers were disappointing.

Ayre’s research found that population growth, demographic trends and state tax policies have limited if any impact on jobless rates. He also reported that in his opinion, Oregon’s higher-than-average minimum wage has minimal effect, and the same goes for the decline of the timber industry.

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PSU grad donates millions
High Five
Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Portland State University's mathematics and statistics department got a $3.9 million boost.

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TriMet bypasses bridge bids
High Five
Monday, December 07, 2009

The new Willamette River bridge project will be exempt from the low-bid process.

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Gubernatorial candidates talk jobs
High Five
Friday, December 04, 2009

The four actively campaigning candidates for governor discuss job creation and education.

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Recession hits Cyan/PDX building
High Five
Friday, December 04, 2009

After converting to condos due to the bad apartment market, the building is now being sold.

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