Josh Lehner of the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis produced two new charts today that provide hopeful news.
First, Lehner notes, the job count in rural Oregon has returned to levels reached before the Great Recession.
"Both urban and rural areas of the state, in aggregate, lost the same percentage of their jobs during the Great Recession. However, urban areas returned to growth first—Portland in particular, being the biggest and most diverse economy in the state—and have been at historic highs for years," Lehner writes.
"Fast forward to today, employment in Oregon's rural counties is now back to where it was prior to the Great Recession. This is not a destination, but is an important milestone to note."
Second, Lehner found, the poverty gap between white and non-white Oregonians has narrowed.
"Relative to recent history, American Indian and Alaska Natives in Oregon currently have a record low poverty rate, as do Hispanics," Lehner writes. "Black Oregonians are near historic lows, but they current experience poverty rates about one percentage point higher then seen in 1999 or just as the economy crashed a decade ago."