UO Index of Economic Indicators shows improving Oregon economy

12/03/04

College of Arts and Sciences launches new service

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's economic health improved in October, partially offsetting a steep decline during the previous month, according to the University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators, a new outreach service of the UO College of Arts and Sciences.

"The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators is intended to offer Oregon business owners and policy makers a clearer picture of the direction of the state's economy," says Joe Stone, dean of the UO College of Arts and Sciences. "This report is one of several initiatives by the college to open a dialogue with community leaders on issues important to the state's prosperity."

Timothy Duy, a UO economist and director of the Oregon Economic Forum, is the author of the index which analyzes factors that can predict economic activity in the state. Duy was previously an economist with the U.S. Treasury Department, where he analyzed U.S. trade issues.

"This report summarizes monthly data that otherwise are available only as disparate and possibly contradictory bits of information," Duy says. "Our analysis will measure the Oregon labor market, the Oregon construction industry, and Oregon shipping activity, as well as national consumer confidence, manufacturing orders and financial market conditions.

Indicators rebounded 0.2 percent in October, partially offsetting a steep decline in September. Three of the eight indicators that comprise the index-Oregon building permits, Oregon weight mile tax, and help wanted ads in The Oregonian newspaper-were up sharply. Duy says the remaining components were down moderately. Improving indicators outweighed those that deteriorated.

Duy tested the index's indicators by comparing results to historical economic performance dating back to 1995, using the same widely accepted and proven methodology The Conference Board uses to compute the U.S. Leading Index.

The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators will be published monthly.

The index is a product of the Oregon Economic Forum, a project of the UO College of Arts and Sciences and the UO Department of Economics. The first Oregon Economic Forum was held Oct. 21 in Portland. Organizers plan to host a continuing series of events during the next 12 months that will allow UO faculty members and students to share economic research with the business community.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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