UO Index of Economic Indicators shows improving Oregon economy

December 03, 2004

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.
CONTACT: Holly Dotin, LandreyMorrow, (503) 243-4565, hollyd@landreymorrow.com

CONTACT: Pauline Austin, UO Media Relations, (541) 346-3129, paustin@uoregon.edu

SOURCE: Timothy Duy, Oregon Economic Forum, (541) 346-4660, duy@uoregon.edu

LINK: http://econforum.uoregon.edu

The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators is a composite of selected data designed to provide a picture of business activity in Oregon as a single variable. The data were carefully selected to include indicators that signal current and future economic activity in Oregon.

The monthly indicators used are: The UO Index, using 1996 as the base year, is calculated by applying the same widely accepted and proven methodology employed in the computation of the U.S. Leading Index by The Conference Board, an independent, nonprofit research organization that creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance. For more information about The Conference Board, go to http://www.globalindicators.org.

The index is constructed to have the properties of a leading indicator. As a general rule, a decline in the index of greater than 2 percent over six months, coupled with a decline in more than half of its components, signals that a recession is likely imminent. The 2 percent rule-which has since changed to 3.5 percent due to index revisions-was originally employed by The Conference Board for the U.S. Leading Indicators, and it appears appropriate for the UO Index.

Tim Duy, Ph.D., an economist and director of the Oregon Economic Forum, prepares the index. Before joining the UO faculty, he worked as an economist with the U.S. Treasury Department, analyzing U.S. trade issues, and as a private consultant in Washington, D.C., providing political and economic advice to financial institutions.

The UO Index will be published monthly and reflects business activity ending approximately six weeks prior to the report issue date. Each index report is peer-reviewed to assure sound conclusions.

The UO Index of Economic Indicators is part of the Oregon Economic Forum-an on-going series of initiatives begun in 2004 to showcase research by UO Department of Economics faculty members, and to open a dialogue with community leaders on important economic issues. The Oregon Economic Forum is a project of the UO College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Economics.

The UO Index of Economic Indicators reports will be posted on the first week of each month at http://econforum.uoregon.edu.

University of Oregon

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