Local, state, and national indicators showing the relative health of the Portland economy
Fall has arrived in Oregon, along with the uncertainty of the US Presidential election and a potentially deadly flu/Covid-19 season. Employment continues to increase, although corporate restructures (Nike) and continued lack of accommodation/food service recovery have restricted growth. For weeks that ended in September, the state of Oregon saw a 72% increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance year-over-year, with 23,825 claims compared to 13,877 claims over the same period in 2019. In August, the annual increase was 40%, which points to the first increase in initial claims since March. Continuing the story heard over the summer, median home values continue to rise as people look for more space and privacy to accommodate much more time spent at home. According to Zillow, Portland metro’s median home value increased 6.6% from September 2019 to 2020, coming in at $436,053 (Figure 1). This represents the largest annual growth since November 2017. Newly registered businesses posted historical increases in Q3, increasing 42.6% over the quarter (Figure 2). For context, the previous 10 years of economic recovery from the Great Financial Crisis saw an average quarterly growth of 0.7%. The final two months of 2020 will hopefully yield a clearer understanding of what a 2021 recovery is likely to look like, including a timeline for vaccine distribution and further fiscal support for the economy.