'Nothing in the data to suggest that the economy is going to turn anytime soon'


    Chambers Construction crews work on a new 300,000 square foot factory being built near Junction City for Northern Gold Foods. The bulk of the job growth this past year has come in the construction sector. People in the industry don't see business slowing down in the next few years. (SBG)

    EUGENE, Ore. - Brian Erickson says the conventional wisdom in the construction industry says to expect a 10-year cycle of 7 good years - and 3 lean ones.

    "We're well into our 7th or 8th year of recovery after the Great Recession," said Erickson, the vice president of business development at Chambers Construction.

    So are there lean years ahead?

    "The next couple of years still look good," he said. "I don't want to predict passed that, but we've been hiring and a lot of our competitors have."

    State analysts have delivered good news in recent days.

    Oregon household incomes are up, and unemployment is down to the lowest levels ever recorded in the Beaver State.

    "There's really nothing in the data to suggest that the economy is going to turn anytime soon," said Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum. "You see the benefits of the expansion expand deeper and deeper throughout the economy."

    Recent Census Bureau data suggests Oregon households have recovered income lost in the Great Recession, although the benefits have not been equally distributed by income level, geography or race.

    "Oregon is once again close to where it was during the late 1970s, late 1990s, and arguably better than the peak of the housing boom," state analyst Josh Lehner reports. ""This does not mean the economy is perfect, or without issues (...) but taken as a whole, Oregon is finally doing OK again."

    And the bulk of the job growth this past year has come in the construction sector.

    "We're just starting the Civic Park project," Erickson said. "We've got fencing up so we'll be starting on that in the next few weeks."

    Duy said this is an exciting time for people who have been out of work or are just entering the workforce.

    "For persons who maybe have been marginalized in the workforce in previous years," he said, "these are opportunities that they'll now have to enter into the workforce."

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