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State's economy slips a bit in August.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

Oregon's economy is growing at a slower pace, but the threat of recession is still relatively low, according to the latest University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators.

The monthly index tracks eight economic indicators and is a short-term predictor of the state's economy.

In August, only two of the index's indicators improved: Oregon nonfarm payrolls and Oregon residential building permits.

And the improvement in building permit activity was slight.

"I think the housing market is still under the stress of the national downturn," said Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum and author of the index. "It might not be as bad as some other places, but it's still under stress."

New manufacturing orders were unchanged in August, while the remaining five indicators all deteriorated: Oregon initial unemployment claims, help-wanted advertising in The Oregonian, the Oregon weight-distance tax - a measure of trucking activity - U.S. consumer confidence and the spread between long- and short-term interest rates.

"It's almost like the economy walked through some molasses," Duy said.

But he still pegs the risk of a recession at only about 30 percent.

"Most analysts had expected the economy to slow in the second half of 2006," Duy said. "From my perspective, that's premature to say that will lead into a bad or recessionary scenario."

The overall story is still one of a mature business cycle transitioning to a somewhat slower level of growth, Duy said.

That isn't necessarily bad, he added, because it does tend to control inflation.

Overall, the index slipped 0.4 percent in August to 106.8. The index uses 1996 as its base, with a rating of 100.

The Register-Guard
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Title Annotation:Business; The latest UO index shows growth in only two sectors, but recession risk is low
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 11, 2006
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