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Think Out Loud

President Obama Speaks on Russia, Healthcare and the Economy

President Obama will hold a press conference today at noon. Topics will include Russian relations, Edward Snowden and the state of the economy. We'll have reactions to the speech with our News Roundtable immediately following the press conference.

Think Out Loud

The Lipstick Economy

Lipstick sales have often been considered a gauge of the economy — the theory being that in tight times women will often buy themselves a new lipstick instead of a new outfit. Economist Alan Greenspan said he looked to men's underwear sales as a predictor for a recession or recovery. He believed that in a recession, men failed to replace their underwear. We featured unconventional economic indicators in a down economy. Now, as the economy begins to improve, we're looking into unusual signs of recovery. What are your economic indicators? Are you going to the spa again? Or eating out more often? Or are you still holding back on buying a new book in favor of visiting the library? Perhaps continuing to shop at Goodwill?

Think Out Loud

Farmers Market Economy

As the weather gets warmer and the rain (hopefully) lets up, Oregonians are doing more food shopping outdoors at their local farmers' markets. But how local is the food? Many farmers sell their own crops along with those grown by others. This practice is condoned by some markets, with some guidelines about clear labeling. The rules vary, but many markets require that a certain percentage of a vendor's wares be fruits and vegetables they grew themselves. Some go so far as to say that everything a seller brings must be homegrown. One farmer we spoke with said he's disappointed that many of his fellow merchants don't follow the rules when it comes to selling food they haven't grown. He's gone so far as to stop selling wholesale altogether in order to keep from competing with his own harvest at the market. Another concern to many vendors is the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is working its way through Congress. (We talked about this last December, when there were still many specifics to be worked out.)

Think Out Loud

The State of the Economy

According to the New York Times, polls show that the economy is now Americans' top concern. Not so coincidentally, the White House and the House of Representatives agreed on an economic stimulus package last Thursday that would send checks of up to $600 to individuals who earned less than $75,000 last year. The last time the government issued tax rebates like this was June 2001, when people received up to $300. Before that, you have to go back to 1975 to find a similar rebate.

Think Out Loud

Worse Before Better: The Central Oregon Economy

What are the lessons of central Oregon's boom and bust, and what are the right engines for its future success?

Think Out Loud

Southern Oregon's Green Economy

A recent article in Oregon Business made waves in this state and around the country — and grabbed our attention as we were preparing for a trip to southern Oregon. The article looked at the economic effect of marijuana, tracing it from glassblowers to fertilizer makers to medical-marijuana-card recommenders. It painted a picture of an above-ground economic engine that has sprouted from (but not replaced) an underground trade. At the same time, both law enforcement and pro-pot activists have complaints about the gray areas in Oregon's current system. In fact, pot has been all over the news in the last few months. NPR explored many financial and legal questions in their multi-part series "The New Marijuana." Initiative efforts throughout the country aim to liberalize marijuana laws. And in Oregon, backers of Initiative 28 hope to put a measure before voters in November that would bring marijuana dispensaries to the state.

Think Out Loud

DIY Economy: Crowdfunding Businesses

Crowdfunding for businesses has caught on from coast to coast. Most crowdfunding projects rely solely upon donations, and offer donors a small gift in return. Now a new type of crowdfunding has begun to emerge, one where the incentive for investors is business equity. After the JOBS Act passed, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) was put in charge of writing the rules to regulate the new bill. The regulations could affect the laws involving crowdfunding. The SEC's rules were expected to be finalized by the end of 2012, but are currently still being drafted. The stalled rulings have left business owners and investors alike anxiously awaiting the final results. We'll talk with a securities lawyer about the possible rules the SEC is considering, and how they could affect the future of crowdfunding and venture capitalism. We'll also hear from two business owners, Jennifer Ferguson and Scott Schroeder, about their widely varying experiences with crowdfunding.

Environment | News | Think Out Loud

Rural Economy | Sage Grouse Plans | Steelhead

The federal government has announced changes to a carefully negotiated sage grouse conservation plan. Also, steelhead may face extinction because of sea lions, and the economy in rural Oregon is not picking up the way it is in urban areas.

Think Out Loud

Is Central Oregon's Economy Turning A Corner?

Recent unemployment figures suggest that Central Oregon's economy is improving. It was one of the hardest hit by the recession and housing bust.

Think Out Loud

The Economy and Domestic Violence

On February 12th an off-duty sergeant walked into the M & M Lounge and Restaurant in Gresham and shot and killed his wife, two of her friends, and, ultimately, himself. To my count this was the eighth murder-suicide in Oregon and Southwest Washington since November. At the same time the headlines are filled with other stories detailing domestic abuse. Oregon football player LaMichael James was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend around her neck and throwing her to the ground in a parking lot. An Oregon assistant attorney general, Susan Gerber, was accused of punching and strangling her longtime partner. And Milwaukie detective Thomas Garrett was accused of assault in the presence of children. Why are there so many cases of domestic violence in the news right now? Is it, in part, because of the economy? What is driving people to hurt others in this way? Local experts stress that more people do not abuse because of a bad economy. But they do admit that people who do abuse, or who have abusive tendencies, might be more inclined to violence when they lose their job or their money gets tight. Limited financial resources can also hinder people from leaving abusive situations. Abuse, therefore, can become more lethal when times are tough. Do you see that correlation? What's your response to the many stories of domestic violence in the news? How does the recession affect the way you, or your family members or friends, act? Are you a person who has suffered from abuse? Or who has a history of abusing? How have you seen the economy affect your actions?

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Results for OPB

News | Technology | Science | Politics

New FAA Rules For Drones Could Boost Oregon Economy

The Federal Aviation Administration just made it easier for drone makers to test products. Oregon senators say that could help create more jobs in the state.

local | News | Economy

Economy Still Growing Despite Lackluster Unemployment Numbers

Despite a couple of months of lackluster unemployment figures, the Oregon Economic Forum says the state is still enjoying better than average growth.

local | News | Economy

Oregon's Economy Continues To Expand At Above Average Rate

Oregon's economy continues to expand at a somewhat above average pace, according to the University of Oregon's measure of activity.

local | News | Economy

Oregon Economy Growing On Manufacturing Activity

Oregon's economy is growing at its historic average rate -- according to a new report out of the University of Oregon.

local | News | Politics | Economy

Study: Deschutes Economy Best In State, Grant Struggling

A new state economic study examines demographic and economic trends over the last decade to determine how Oregon's counties are faring.

local | Economy

Portland's Economy Flickers While State Remains In Darkness

Portland’s economy is recovering at a faster rate than the rest of Oregon.  Although, growth continues to drag in the state as a whole.

local | Election

1st District Candidates Talking Jobs, Economy

Many Oregon 1st Congressional District voters are deeply concerned about the economy. The district’s collective county unemployment rates remain modestly better than the state's overall jobless number. But economic insecurity and underemployment have a tight hold over voters.

local | Election

Q&A: Gregoire Won't Run, Wants To Focus On Washington's Economy

Governor Chris Gregoire’s term isn’t up until January 2013 but Monday she announced her intentions. Olympia reporter Austin Jenkins was there to hear that she's not running for a third term.

local | Business | Economy

Poll Finds Oregonians Feeling Better About Future Economy

Oregonians are not feeling as bad about the economy as they were last fall. But it’d be a stretch to say they’re feeling good about it. A new poll finds Oregonians have a little less concern about the economy and their own financial health.

local | Economy

Facebook Helps An Underemployed Crook County Economy

It’s been about a year since Facebook announced it would build a new data center in Prineville.   As David Nogueras reports, the project has helped to keep the local economy online.

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