- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Most metro economies in Oregon are expanding at or above their normal rates, and more people are looking for work in the state’s major cities, a report from the University of Oregon says.

The rise in available workers - from the lowest depths in decades - suggests the recovery may be picking up throughout the state, The Oregonian (https://bit.ly/1tTxb9w) reported.

The university’s Regional Economic Indexes show that only Medford among Oregon metro-area economies is not expanding at or above the usual pace.

But the Rogue Valley labor force has grown for two straight months, “breaking a long downtrend and possibly signaling that growth momentum is accelerating,” economist Tim Duy wrote in the report.

Because more people are joining the labor market and seeking jobs, the unemployment rate has actually risen in many areas. The unemployment rate is derived from a household survey and is a percentage of the people who say they are either working or looking for work.

In Oregon the rate has hovered near 7 percent since the start of the year.

In addition to signs of the labor market’s health, the regional indexes also factor in construction and transportation trends. Although the most recent figures are from August, the indexes weigh three to six months’ worth of numbers to smooth out volatility.

Based on the measures, the Portland-area economy is growing well ahead of its normal rate, thanks in part to healthy hiring in August. Applications for unemployment benefits also fell, a sign that employers are laying off fewer workers.

Unemployment insurance claims also dropped in the Eugene and Bend areas. But housing permits slumped in Eugene and Salem, holding back the areas’ growth

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Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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