A Tale of Two Recessions
Byline: The Register-Guard
Oregon has an unwanted advantage over most of the country as it slogs through what is being called the Great Recession: We've been here before. Oregon's recession of the early 1980s was much deeper and longer-lasting than the current downturn. There's reason to hope the state can emerge with fewer lasting scars.
The nation slid into recession in the early 1980s, but Oregon's economy crashed. According to the state's Office of Economic Analysis, employment shrank nationwide by 3 percent. In Oregon, 11.5 percent of jobs disappeared. It took employment in the United States eight quarters to return to its pre-recession peaks. In Oregon, full recovery in employment came after 28 quarters - seven years.
The current recession is described as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and that's true of the nation as a whole - but not Oregon. U.S. employment has fallen by 5.7 percent, nearly double the decline of the early 1980s. Oregon has seen a higher-than-average decline of 6.9 percent, but that's only two-thirds the job loss rate of the 1980s.
Economists expect the nation to achieve full recovery in employment in 21 quarters - more than five times as long as it took in the 1980s. In Oregon, job recovery is expected in 22 quarters. …