Economy

Economy, Business, Finance & Labor

Oregon Employment Department

Oregon employers are offering higher wages and there are more job vacancies than in 2014. That's according to the Employment Department's recently released Job Vacancy Survey. The average hourly wage was $16.05 in 2014, this year it's $17.53. Employment Economist Jessica Nelson says higher average wages and more job vacancies are a reflection of Oregon's improving economy.

www.purdue.edu

Oregon's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent last month. That's the first time the state's jobless numbers have inched below the national rate since 1996.

State economist Nick Beleiciks says this shows just how well Oregon's economy has improved over the last year.

Angela Kellner

The Lane County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to extend by 2 years a property tax break for Swanson Group. The company plans to rebuild its plywood mill in Springfield this summer.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The Coquille Indian tribe’s proposal to build a new casino in south Medford has garnered a lot of opponents. But perhaps none as vociferous as the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. The Cow Creek have spent a lot of energy -- and money -- rallying opposition to the Coquille proposal.

Unemployment rates continue to drop in Lane and Douglas counties. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert speaks with a regional economist about the growth trend and what it means for communities.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Lane County is the lowest since June of 2008. Douglas County is trending about the same, seeing its second consecutive month with job growth.

Brian Rooney watches tracks employment in both regions. He says growth brings a mixed bag of benefits.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Coquille Indian tribe’s controversial proposal to build a casino in Medford is facing its first major legal hurdle; getting the federal government to grant the site trust status, making it Indian land. In this second part of our series “Going For Broke,” JPR finds that whether the project gets the go-ahead may depend on how officials at the Bureau of Indian Affairs interpret the fine print of laws and agreements that go back decades.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The proposal by the Coquille Indian tribe to build a new casino in Medford has taken heat from all sides, ever since it surfaced in 20-12. Federal, state and local elected officials have lined up against it. The Cow Creek Indian tribe is adamantly opposed. And comments from the public at large have been overwhelmingly negative.

Amanda Butt

Living on the street is difficult for anyone to do, but surviving without walls presents even greater dangers to women.

On a Saturday morning, a church in Corvallis fills slowly with people looking to fill their stomachs with warm breakfast food. Within the crowd is Marge Pettitt, a homeless activist in the community. She is friendly and repeatedly stops eating to give hugs to people she knows. But when she’s on the street, she’s cautious whenever she comes across strangers.

firstsource.com

A call center planning to open next month in Eugene is hiring up to 250 people. Chris Autry, Site Director for Firstsource Solutions says the company is a businesses process outsourcer.

They're looking to hire people to provide live web-chat services to telecommunications customers. Autry says they want employees with good people skills.

Meyer Memorial Trust

One of the largest private foundations in Oregon awarded over $9.5 million dollars in February alone. Starting today, the Meyer Memorial Trust is suspending its programs to refocus its giving.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created in 1982 by the estate of grocery magnate Fred Meyer, but is not connected to the grocery store. Kimberly Wilson is with the Trust. She says the seven-nine month hiatus will help the organization be more directed:

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