By one new measure, the Portland economy is booming.

The New York Times on March 19 published a story on how the number of cranes is one indication of economic vibrancy.

"With 26 cranes this winter, Portland was tied with Chicago, even though Chicago has 2.7 million people and Portland only 630,000," the New York Times reports, taking the RLB Crane Index as one more sign of economic fortitude.

The construction consulting firm Rider Levett Bucknall developed the index. It covers just 13 cities, where the firm does business. And it include only cranes that are 10 to 80 stories tall.

"The total has stayed relatively steady since the summer of 2015 (there were 439 cranes then), which was the crest of the current development wave, some brokers say. The index has remained consistent despite headwinds like climbing interest rates, trade turmoil, rising material costs and a tight labor market," the New York Times reported.

Some experts predict that cities will continue to see growth in construction even as the economy shows other signs of a downturn.

"This is a golden age of construction in American metropolitan areas," Gian Luca Clementi, an associate professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University, tells the Times. "The U.S. is still less urbanized than similar countries, so if anything, we will probably see more and more construction."