I’ve lived only in Oregon. My parents both grew up in Portland. Our first homes were in Milwaukie, just south of Portland on the east bank of the Willamette river. I went to college in Eugene at the University of Oregon. When my parents were getting older I moved back up to Portland. And here I’ve been.
The economy here is deceptive. You can see cars on the streets, and sort-of happy people walking along Hawthorne Street, one of the trendy places in eastern Portland, and not understand how economically stressed out the city, as well as the whole state, has been.
There’s a lot of unemployment here. I want to relay two articles on the local economy, one from the socialists, and another written up in Willamette Week, one of our local weeklies. The two give a brief picture of what we have been going through as a collective these past several years.
Double-digit unemployment fuels growing social crisis in Oregon
By Hector Cordon
24 November 2009
Oregon’s October unemployment figure, released last week, remained unchanged from September and showed a nearly 1 percent drop from May 2009’s high of 12.2 percent. The report, however, was far from good news for workers.
The unemployment level remained in the double digits—a level first reached in February of this year—staying at 11.3 percent. This compares to the US figure of 9.8 percent in September and 10.2 percent in October.
While October’s unemployment rate appears to have plateaued, net job losses remain high—1,900 in October, seasonally adjusted, following September’s revised loss of 6,000 jobs. Job losses for the previous seven months averaged 5,100 per month.
The drop in the unemployment rate from last May’s 12.2 percent and its flattening in October is largely the result not of any improvement in the economy, but rather the abandonment by large numbers of workers of an active search for jobs.