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Portland Pulse - August 2020

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Local, state, and national indicators showing the relative health of the Portland economy

Economic data has now come in to explain how unevenly the pandemic is impacting the economy. Employment looks dismal, but construction of single-family homes has fared well, so far. For weeks that ended in June, the state of Oregon saw a 429% increase in claims year-over-year, with 76,622 claims compared to 14,476 claims over the same period in 2019. Construction of single-family dwellings are currently providing the most optimistic data about an economic recovery. There were 670 construction permits pulled in June for single-family units during the month, which is only 2.2% less than the 30-year average. Consumer and business confidence in the economy began to tick up slightly in June, although remains in negative territory. Business confidence was only lower in late 2008 and early 2009 while consumer confidence was worse than today’s until early 2012. Livability, affordability (relative to other west coast markets), and a diverse industry-base will ensure Portland’s long-term economic sustainability. The main indicator to watch in the coming months will be the proportion of new unemployment insurance claims in Portland’s professional services industries. As the economy reopens (predicated on decreasing COVID-19 cases), there will be many jobs back in retail services and accommodation, however the permanent elimination of jobs across industry sectors will provide a telling narrative for how this pandemic has shifted the economy


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Portland Pulse - August 2020

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