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University of Oregon index shows state still struggling

Data compiled by the University of Oregon shows the state is still struggling for economic equilibrium.

The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators edged up in February, but in general the data suggest financial engines have failed to gain traction since last September.

Initial unemployment claims have been tracking sideways at levels consistent with ongoing job growth, reported Tim Duy, the report's author.

However, the general upward trend in employment services payrolls — largely temporary help firms — remains intact.

The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity was 0.11 in February, compared to a revised 0.32 the previous month. Zero in the Index metric indicates the average growth rate over the 1990-present period.

Similar to the previous month, the services sector contributed negatively to the measure, Duy said.

Residential building permits remain somewhat below normal, making a negative contribution.

But general improvement in the construction industry is bolstering employment.

The Oregon weight-distance tax has been rising over the past year, consistent with a faster pace of activity. New orders for core manufacturing goods, slipped a bit but in general remained flat. Those two indicators point to sustained expansion at a somewhat above-average pace of activity.

Duy said labor-force growth in Oregon may be a precursor to an accelerated pace of activity in future months.