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Economic index shows slow growth in region

Economic growth continues to lag in the Rogue Valley, the latest regional economic index released by the University of Oregon today showed.

The Rogue Valley area was the lone holdout with other regions of the state showing growth at or above their average rates, said Tim Duy, an economist at the University of Oregon.

"The rebound in that area remains tepid in comparison to previous growth," he said.

Housing construction has not returned anywhere near previous levels in either Salem or Rogue Valley regions; a dearth of building permits drags down the index number.

"There is a two-fold reason for the persistent weakness in the Rogue Valley," Duy said. "Housing remains muted, reflecting some of the migration dynamics. There just haven't been as many people moving in as we saw before the recession."

The second, he said, was an unemployment rate that still remains well above state and national figures.

"There's underlying improvement since the end of 2012, but the unemployment rate in region is still a little bit elevated, and that's putting additional weight on the index."

Duy said manufacturing here is improving, as it has in many parts of the state.

The lack of snow may hurt Rogue Valley hiring, but it won't have nearly the impact here as it will in Bend, experts said.

— Greg Stiles