Must Reads

Jobs Watch: Hard questions for the senator

ben-blogHow can we possibly bring down the costs of health care? What about the tax burden on small businesses? The patent backlog? The national debt? The lack of credit for growing businesses and startups? Those were just some of the hard questions directed at freshman Senator Jeff Merkley this morning at a “fireside chat” organized by the Software Association of Oregon at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

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Jobs Watch: The revenue forecast calls for pain

ben-blogThe state’s new revenue forecast is out, and the findings are not pretty: nine consecutive quarters (and counting) of year-over-year job loss, surprisingly poor numbers in the professional services, financial and retail sectors and looming public sector cuts as backlash spreads over government spending. Housing starts are down, retail sales are sluggish and consumer confidence is understandably low. The Oregon job market is not expected to improve significantly until the fourth quarter of 2011.

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Jobs Watch: Fresh breezes in the Gorge

ben-blogThere aren’t a lot of counties in Oregon with unemployment rates lower than the national average, but there are three of them in the Columbia River Gorge. Even as the state's economy has stagnated, the awesome rise of the robot plane pioneer Insitu as an aerospace powerhouse and other positive developments have done wonders for communities on both sides of the river, especially in the vicinity of Hood River.

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Jobs Watch: Lithia back in driver's seat

ben-blogThe last time I spoke with Sid DeBoer, his two key suppliers, GM and Chrysler, had recently declared bankruptcy and his company, Lithia Motors, was recovering from its worst year ever. But he had a plan to turn things around. A year and a half later, it seems to be working.

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Jobs Watch: Betting on the little guys

ben-blogCan a state agency create jobs without wasting taxpayer money? Business Oregon is trying to do exactly that with its new BOOST program. The program approved its first two grants this week, and if you measure such things by jobs promised per dollar invested, this initiative would seem to have potential.

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Jobs Watch: Innovation, from A to Z

ben-blogI got the opportunity to sit down with Matt Nees and Bryce Yonker the other day, and within an hour my story idea list had doubled in size. There’s a lot going on with tech innovation in Oregon, and Nees, who’s been president of the Software Association of Oregon for about a year now, and his colleague Yonker have a sharp inside view of not only what’s happening, but also what’s coming.

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Jobs Watch: Jive Talkin'

ben-blogMy conference call with two Jive Software executives on Monday was quite a workout. It isn’t easy to type in synch with people so excited about their prospects that they can barely complete a sentence without flinging out phrases like “ awesome growth trajectory,” “totally stoked” and (avert your eyes now) “kicking ass and taking names.”

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Jobs Watch: A materials library for Portland

ben-blogSohrab Vossoughi is a great person to call if you’re running short on ideas. The high-energy CEO of Ziba Design specializes in big ideas delivered with enthusiasm, and his latest, the Portland Center for Innovation and Design, merits a closer look.

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