Recovery hasn't arrived in Southern Oregon yet

Ten of 14 components used to measure Southern Oregon's economic health declined, and another, airport passenger traffic, remained unchanged, indicating the region has yet to gain traction coming out of the Great Recession, according to the latest Rogue Valley economic index produced by the University of Oregon. "In general, this recovery has been slow going — and particularly slow going for regions dependent on the housing market," said Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon. "That's certainly the case in Medford and the Rogue Valley. It appears the area will continue struggling, but certainly not deteriorating as we saw in the worst part of the crisis."

While Southern Oregon is in a holding pattern, Eugene-Springfield and Central Oregon joined the Portland metro area in edging closer to a growth trend.

"It's still a matter of time as we move further into the recovery, and that will support additional gains throughout the state," Duy said. "Again, we're just kind of muddling along until we get to that stronger growth."

The economic components measured in the study range from new residential construction permits to employment in several sectors. He pointed out new construction remains below past levels, something that likely won't change until migration patterns seen until the recession return. "Steady inflows of new residents stimulated economic gains," he said. "That process has halted and has not been replaced."

As the U.S. economy improves, Duy said, new migration will begin and create housing demand seen before the recession. "Some of the other businesses reliant on external activity will see greater growth as well," he said. "That's assuming there isn't a disaster in Congress or in Europe."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.


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