Central Oregon’s economy is expected to expand over the next eight quarters, but that growth is likely to be slow and steady. That’s the message in a new economic forecast out Wednesday from California Lutheran University.
Bill Watkins is the executive director of CLU’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. He says he expects job growth to remain tepid in Central Oregon though most of this year.
One bright spot should be the completion of the second phase of Facebook’s Prineville data center. Real estate is another matter. Watkins says it’s likely to be quite some time before property values in Central Oregon recover.
“Some people think that what goes down will come up and that’s why some places forecast the Bend areas and Deschutes County to grow pretty rapidly", says Watkins. "We disagree. We think that Bend’s boom was driven by baby boomers’ wealth. And that baby boomers’ wealth have been hit hard and it’s not coming back any time soon.”
The report says in the long run, the region needs to find a basis for sustained economic growth. At the same time, it concedes doing so will be a challenge saying that's “easier said than done”.