Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Consumers, HP, Unemployment, and Crook County

As you can remember from last month, consumer confidence was pretty low causing a lot of people and businesses to worry. Well the numbers in January have not gotten any better and have even darkened the moods of many Americans towards the economy. The Conference Board said that the consumer index is at 37.7 for January, which is down from the revised 38.6 that it posted in December and even lower than the 39 that economist expected. In recent months the index has hit new lows and is lower than half of what it posted in January 2007, which was 87.3. Consumers are starting the new year with the same kind of pessimism that they had at the end of 2008. Economists are watching consumer spending very closely since consumer spending amounts for two thirds of economic activity.

Back in November, there was on article about Hewlett Packard being in some trouble, well now they are in the midst of eliminating 150 to 200 jobs at the Vancouver, Washington plant. This is due to HP shutting down its local Edgeline printer team and other engineering groups. The 174 acre campus has been for sale and they have had no luck in finding a buyer, which calls into question HP's long term plans for Vancouver. HP has been one of the areas top employers as far as jobs and salaries are concern. Many of the workers earn close $100,000 a year, but the company is may now be down to only 650 employees after this round of layoffs, which at the compnaies height had close to 3,300 in the 1990's.

With all the troubles that the nation is having with unemployment, Oregon has definitely been feeling the pain as well. In December, every county in the state of Oregon experienced an increase in unemployemnt unlike from a year ago. One third of the 36 counties in Oregon had at least a double digit unemployment rate, but nearly all of those were outside of the Willamette Valley. Counties that are especially dependant on wood products were hit the hardest. Grant County had the states highest unemployment rate at 15.9% which is up 10% from a year before. Crook County, where wood-products is the single largest employer, the jobless rate double fro, 7.3% to 14%.

Crook County which had the highest unemployment rate in November at 12.4%, but it was not always like that. Just two years ago, the area was booming with jobs in construction, services and wood products. It has since relinquished its crown from November, but now has the second highest unemployment rate at 14% and things are not looking bright. Compare that to Multnomah County which has 7.8% and Oregon's state unemployment is at 8.8%. Crook County is sadly in a world of hurt.

So Portland, with all of this uneasiness that is going around, you should take a chance with the Employmentguide. I know times are hard and its seems like there is nothing but doom and gloom. We are currentley in the process of trying to employ 10,000 people this year, so you should come out to our job fair on February 25th. Hope to see you guys there!

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