PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It may take years for Oregon cities to recover enough jobs to get back to the employment levels seen before the recession, according to a new report.
The economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicts it may take until the middle of 2014 before the Portland metro area recovers all the jobs it lost.
Other Oregon cities may take even longer.
The forecasting firm said a full recovery may take until 2018 for Medford and 2019 for the Eugene-Springfield area. It could take until 2021 in the Bend area in Deschutes County, which had been one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, The Oregonian reported Tuesday.
The quickest return to pre-recession peak employment was expected in Corvallis, home to Oregon State University, possibly by 2013.
The picture emerging from state and national economic reports released Monday shows a longer recovery than usual after a recession. Rising gas prices, disruption from Japan's disasters and fallout from extreme U.S. weather have slowed momentum, although not enough, economists believe, to drag the United States back into recession.
"There's no sign of a fast recovery," said Jim Diffley, IHS Global Insight's chief regional economist. "The depth of the recession was so great."
Metro regions account for 86 percent of Oregon's gross state product, led by the Portland-Vancouver, Wash., area at 62 percent, the report said. In Washington state, the urban effect is even greater, accounting for 94 percent of the state's economic activity, led by Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue at 68 percent.
Given such concentrations, the authors of the report argue that metropolitan areas are the engines capable of driving the nation back from the recession that officially ended in June 2009.
But Oregon's metro areas must dig out of deep holes. Portland metro area employment fell by 82,500 jobs from its pre-recession peak, the authors said. Eugene-Springfield lost 18,000 jobs. The metro Bend area lost 11,800 — more than 16 percent of its jobs.
Economists say U.S. cities must keep making progress to pull the nation back to employment levels enjoyed before December 2007, when the recession began.
But they say rural areas lack sufficient economic clout, and cities such as Bend that fell hard when the housing bubble burst could remain mired indefinitely.
"What I'm seeing people doing is move," said William Valentine, an investment manager in Bend, which has become an outdoor recreation hub over the years.
"The guy from California who always wanted to dabble in real estate, he's packing up and leaving," Valentine said.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.