Fun Friday: Alcohol, Marijuana, and Tech


Happy Friday everybody! A friend of the office recently noted that we haven’t been discussing beer nearly enough lately. And it turns out she was right. After our office’s first, real recreational marijuana forecast last year and the Oregon Vice research and presentation I did, our office has been mostly focused on the evolving macro environment this year (more next week). Given this, and the fact that our office recently reconvened our marijuana forecast advisory group, I thought I should rectify the oversight.

Let’s start first with an update to the comparison you never knew you wanted, but are now glad you have. Over the past decade, or since the start of the Great Recession, Oregon’s thriving alcohol, and marijuana sectors have added more jobs than one of the state’s economic pillars: the high-tech cluster. Of course these economic sectors are not directly related, but instead are being used to help frame the discussion for just how fast, and how many jobs are being added here in the state.

We use this chart regularly in our presentations to discuss a variety of legitimate economic topics, including the transition from hardware to software within the tech industry, in addition to the true economic impact from vice sectors lies not with the growing and retailing of the products, but in all the ancillary and support industries that grow along with consumer demand and evolving markets. At its roots, Oregon’s alcohol cluster is value-added manufacturing where firms take raw ingredients — many of which are locally-grown — and turn them into a much more valuable products sold across the state and increasingly around the world. Furthermore, a plurality of brew system manufacturers in the U.S. call Oregon home. So when a new brewery opens up elsewhere in the country, there is a good probability they are buying and using Oregon-made equipment.

Our office’s hope is this type of cluster similarly develops around the recreational marijuana industry as well. Prices continue to plunge as the market matures and marijuana commoditizes. But increasing market activity in extracting oils, creating creams, making edibles in addition to hopefully building up the broader cluster of lab testing equipment, and branding and design firms, means Oregon will see a bigger economic impact from legalization.

Note that the reason for the range of marijuana-related employment in the chart is due to data availability. Our friends over at Employment do a great job of matching employment records to OLCC licensed businesses. Their latest count totals 5,300 jobs in Oregon. Now, these are payroll jobs (technically jobs subject unemployment insurance). Given harvest seasonality, part-time work, independent contractors and the like in a still federally illegal industry, it is reasonable to expect these payroll jobs to be more of a lower bound. However, if we turn to OLCC marijuana worker permits, those currently number 36,000 which is too high. Triangulating a more reasonable estimate — either via a rough sales to employee ratio, or scaling by a similar factor as food handler cards to food service jobs — shows there are probably about 11,000 or 12,000 marijuana-related jobs in the state today.

Finally, I have also been updating my Oregon brewery production numbers to track start-ups, the state’s legacy breweries, and also closures or failures. Given the outright declines in the beer industry overall, and slowing growth in craft beer sales, there has been quite a lot of hand-wringing over what it means. No doubt, retail shelf space is limited and the competition is fierce. Some breweries are seeing substantial declines in their sales and production. However that does not mean the industry overall is unhealthy. In fact, brewpubs continue to thrive, and some of the bigger breweries are revamping their tasting rooms, and adding more locations for better direct-to-consumer sales given they maximize revenue per pint this way. Elon Glucklich at The Register-Guard has great article on this, with a focus on Eugene breweries.

However, as Warren Buffet said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.” For breweries this means that business plans, practices and operations matter considerably more in a world of slowing growth then they do during the go-go days of double-digit gains every year. Slower growth can strain business finances, eventually leading to more closures or failures. So, are we seeing this here in Oregon? So far the answer is no. Yes, the absolute number of brewery closures has risen in recent years, but the closure rate has barely budged. The reason is Oregon has quadrupled the number of breweries in the state over the past 15 years. As such, we should see more closures given there are so many more potential places to run into issues — be they low sales, high costs, personal problems, or the like. To date, Oregon breweries are closing at a significantly lower rate than other types of businesses across the state.

UPDATE: It it also helpful to put the number of closures in perspective with the number of openings. Economists tend to refer to this as churn. There are always new businesses forming and others going out of business. Additionally around 1 in 8 workers in Oregon are gaining or losing a job every single quarter. While topline economic indicators tend to be pretty stable, or show solid gains, there is an incredible amount of churn below the surface. This occurs in good times and in bad. So far, even as brewery closures are rising some overall, the number of new breweries in the state continues to outpace closures by a margin of 4 to 1 in the last three years.

Next week I will have a few posts on the macro outlook, as we meet with our economic advisors to nail down the 2019-21 biennium outlook. Our forecast will be released Nov 14, at which time we will also have an updated recreational marijuana forecast that incorporates all of the latest data and input from our advisors.

Last but not least, a special thank you to Beth Dyer at Employment for helping me get all of the industry data to build the clusters!

Source:Oregon Economic News

Oregon Adds Jobs, But Unemployment Rises

Oregon Jobless Rate Falls Below 8 PercentEUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s unemployment rate moved up from 6.9 percent in July to 7.2 percent in August. This was the highest unemployment rate since November 2013.

The primary measure of employment in Oregon, seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment, increased by 2,900 jobs in August. Professional and business services added 900 jobs while manufacturing added 1,000 jobs in August.

Employment is now 40,700 jobs above where it was a year ago. With the job growth, Oregon is now just 20,100 jobs from its pre-recession employment peak reached in December 2007.

For more details click here.

February 28 – Morning Headlines



City extends the exclusion zone till November. Is that long enough, or has it been too long already?
  • Driver arrested in fatal accident
    Police arrested a 53-year-old Springfield man Sunday in connection with an August traffic accident that killed a female bicyclist on River Road. James Robert Gleich was booked into the Lane County Jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter, criminall…
  • Fire Heavily Damages Eugene Duplex
    Fire investigators are still trying to figure out how a Eugene duplex went up into flames early Monday morning. It happened in an apartment complex on North Polk Street just after 6 a.m. Firefighters say the fire broke out on an upstairs floor. T…
  • AAA: OR gas price $3.89, up 23 cents in a week
    The AAA auto club reports the average price of gasoline in Oregon is $3.89 a gallon.
  • Council extends downtown exclusion zone — through November
    Eugene’s downtown exclusion zone will live awhile longer, but not nearly as long as supporters had hoped. The City Council late tonight voted to extend the controversial ordinance until Nov. 30. Supporters had wanted the ordinance to last for another…
  • Rideshare resources to save on gas
    As gas prices rise, Lane Transit District wants residents to log onto their new resource Drive Less Connect. It’s a rideshare database where users can find other commuters going their…

Tim Chuey Weather:

Your Tuesday will start off with possible fog and freezing fog, then increasing clouds with the chance of rain increasing, and maybe even some snow by nightfall.

High: 46
Low: 35
Rain: up to 1inch.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Partly cloudy with patchy fog and freezing fog this AM, increasing clouds to mostly cloudy with rain becoming likely (60%) this afternoon (0.25 in. of rain possible), rain in the evening, rain and snow showers (snow level 500 ft. to 1,000 ft. late at night, 1 in. of snow possible, 0.50 in. of rain possible) late tonight and windy (S 15-25 mph), mostly cloudy with rain and snow showers Wednesday (small hail possible), rain and snow showers Wednesday night, rain and snow showers likely (60%) Thursday, then a (40%) chance of showers Thursday night highs 43-46 lows near 35. Mostly cloudy with a (40%) chance of rain Friday and Friday night, a  mix of clouds and sun with a good (50%) chance of rain Saturday, a (30%) chance of showers Saturday night, a slight (20%) chance of showers Sunday, cloudy with a (40%) chance of rain Sunday night, then a good (50%) chance of rain Monday highs 45-54 cooling to near 50 Monday lows 35-40 cooling to 36 Sunday night. (seasonal averages high 53 low 36)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather:

November 3 – Morning Headlines

Sheldon Irish Wide Receiver Drew Haugen up for a Rudy Award


Tim Chuey Weather:

Look for showers and maybe even a thunderstorm for your Thursday.

High: 50
Low: 29
Rain: 100%

For the rest of the week into the weekend another upper air trough of low pressure (“U” shape on yellow line) will be offshore and one frontal system moved through Wednesday night, then a series of frontal systems like this one will keep the chance of precipitation around. Mountain snow levels will fall well below pass levels making for slippery roadways by Friday. A REMINDER: We will go back to Standard time NEXT WEEKEND (Fall back one hour officially at 2 AM Sunday November 6th).

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Mostly cloudy with showers and a slight (20%) chance of isolated thunderstorms (small hail possible) this afternoon (0.25 in. of rain possible), a good (50%) of showers tonight, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of showers Friday afternoon, mostly cloudy with a (30%) chance of showers Friday night, rain likely (60%) Saturday, then rain Saturday night highs 50-46 lows 29-40. Mostly cloudy with showers likely (60%) Sunday, a good (50%) chance of showers Sunday night, a (40%) chance of showers Monday, a good (50%) chance of showers Monday night, rain likely (60%) Tuesday, a good (50%) chance of rain Tuesday night, then mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Wednesday highs near 50 lows near 40. (seasonal averages high 56 low 39)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather:

I-5 Willamette Bridge opens


Melissa Haskin, EDN

The honorary opening of the new Southbound I-5 Willamette Bridge brought out the handshakers and baby kissers on Thursday morning; Representative Peter DeFazio, Representative Terry Beyer, and Councilman Andy Zelenka were among the officials on-hand to do the honors.

Representative Peter DeFazio: “We are talking about the second busiest highway in America, the third busiest truck route in the country–a highway system that connects California, one of the largest economies in the world, Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Canada and this is an incredibly important route.”

Representative Terry Beyer noted that “The Willamette river bridge project hired Oregon based companies almost exclusively,” and members of the Calapooia tribe who sang a song in honor of the event.

It’s put hundreds of people to work, the money‘s being recycled in the local community. If we repeated this across America we wouldn’t have fifteen percent unemployment in this country,” DeFazio said.

When cracks were found in the original I-5 Willamette bridge in 2004 a temporary bridge was constructed and traffic was diverted.  In 2009, work began on the replacement bridge.  Sonny Chickering, ODOT area manager, said that over the last two years of work they built a huge work bridge below the bridge, demolished the original I-5 bridge, and completed the new one; a massive undertaking.  The Southbound Bridge is estimated to have required about 400,000 hours of labor, and this is only half of the project, next is the Northbound bridge.

When construction on the Northbound bridge begins, materials from the work bridge under the Southbound span will be reused to build the work bridge for the Northbound span.  “Once the work bridge is in place, crews will be ready to deconstruct the temporary structure and the northbound bridge will be built the same way as the southbound; from the river up,” said Chickering. The bridge is expected to be open in October 2013.

The crews are making final preparations for the traffic that is scheduled to begin using the new structure on August 29. Crews say one of the big perks about this new bridge is the view of Autzen Stadium you will have as you drive over it.

As the speakers came to a close, Councilman Zelenka told a story, “I remember when I was a kid and my older brother used to tell me to go play on the freeway. Well, I’m finally eager to do what my brother said, so without further ado, I’m going to go play on the freeway.

You can read more about the bridge here and follow their blog here.


Report Forecasts Oregon’s Road to Recovery

Report Forecasts Oregon's Road to Recovery
EUGENE, Ore. — If you think the Eugene-Springfield area is close to recovering from the recession, forget it. It's years away, according to a new report. The economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight says the Eugene-Springfield

and more »

June 7 – Evening Update


June 7 – Evening Update

Tim Chuey Weather: We’ve been waiting for a sign that the “so called Spring weather” was on it’s way out and I think we finally have it. Mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers late tonight, a mix of clouds and sun Wednesday, partly cloudy in the evening.

Antique Store Moves into Former Strip Club Location – Springfield has a reputation for being home to a number of strip clubs, but a building that was a club is now an antique shop. And there’s a sign to prove it. The Little Shop of Hoarders.
Springfield woman dies after car collides with semi – A 69-year-old Springfield woman died early Tuesday morning from injuries suffered in a car crash Monday morning.

Oregon firefighters battling blazes in five other states – Oregon’s damp spring delayed the local wildland fire season, freeing up state firefighters to battle fires in other states.

Chris Kilcullen shooter deemed unfit to stand trial – Cheryl Kidd, the woman accused of shooting EPD Officer Chris Kilcullen has been deemed unfit to stand trial at this time. According to her attorney, presiding Judge Bearden ordered that Kidd be transferred to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem for evaluation and treatment.

Teen found OK after escape from school – Police found a boy missing since Monday morning in good condition Tuesday afternoon around 2:15 p.m.

Jobs cut at agency that helps unemployed – Federal funding for Lane Workforce and 600 other national job force programs had been on the chopping block in Congress. That won’t happen now, but 6 or 7 jobs at the Eugene office will still be lost.

Victor Dunn found and home safe.


May 4 – Evening Update


Here are this evenings local headlines:
We’ve had some questions about why we didn’t add this headline or that headline. If it isn’t Lane County, we generally don’t publish it. If its a non-story: “So and so is considering what might happen if, and what they would do then…” – sorry, not included. We may include a headline or link to a story about a specific individual in our area; if you have a story you think needs to be told, we’d like to know about it. –ed.

Tim Chuey: Mostly clear this evening, partly cloudy at night, a mix of clouds and sun Thursday. Set your alarm for early and get out to see the planets while the skies are clear.

1 opening for every 6 job seekers in Lane County
Getting a job in Lane County isn’t impossible, but experts at the Employment Department won’t lie: it isn’t easy.

Oregon House votes to expand bottle deposit system
The Oregon House has voted to expand the bottle deposit system to cover energy drinks, tea bottles and most other beverage containers.

Cabela’s opening will bring traffic challenges
Cabela’s expects thousands to attend Thursday night’s grand opening at Gateway Mall. That’s why they are working with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Springfield police.

Collection of income tax at issue
Terri Williams, the head of the city of Portland’s Revenue Bureau, isn’t being coy when she says she doesn’t know how much it would cost her department to administer Eugene’s proposed income tax for schools.

Before and after… derelict military artifact now restored museum exhibit
More than six years after it left Creswell, a derelict piece of former Air Force equipment at Creswell’s “Hobby Field” Airport has been restored to become a valued display at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Spring Street Fair kicks off with great weather
Hundreds gathered on the first day of the fair to listen to music, eat food and enjoy the warm weather. EUGENE (KMTR) – The 2011 University of Oregon Spring Street Faire is underway and will run until Saturday.

Creswell School District wraps up superintendent candidate interviews
Both finalists for Creswell School District’s superintendent position have completed their final interviews, leaving the hardest part of the task, the decision of whom to hire.

Springfield Students Compete in Aircar Competition
Students from three Springfield middle schools will test their car building skills Wednesday in the seventh annual Aircar Competition.

Lane County Releases Cold Case Playing Cards
LANE COUNTY, Ore. — The Lane County Sheriff’s Department hopes a deck of playing cards will help investigators find information on unsolved homicide and missing persons cases.

A restored HH-43 fire fighting package

April 21 – Morning Headlines


Here are the local headlines as of this morning:
Tim Chuey: Just a chance of showers today, partly cloudy and warmer Friday, then back to wet by Saturday night into Easter Sunday. You will need rain gear to protect your Easter outfits. The particulars: A 30 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 53. West northwest wind between 3 and 11 mph. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

House backs job limits bill
The Oregon House on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would restrict state legislators jumping straight from the Capitol into high-paying state government jobs. House Bill 3446 would require legislators to wait at least one year after they leave office before taking a state government job.

Third annual “Dog-Gone Easter Egg Hunt” – April 23, 11am
Greenhill Humane Society hosts its third annual Dog-Gone Easter Egg Hunt fundraiser on Saturday April 23 at Meadow View School, 1855 Legacy Street, Eugene. The hunt starts at 11:00, registration at 10:15 a.m. and the cost is $5 per egg-hunting dog.

4J School Year Calendars Set for 2011–12
The Eugene School Board has approved 4J’s 2011–12 academic calendars. Labor negotiations currently underway may result in unpaid furlough (no-school) days being added to the calendar at a later time.

Greenhills Dog-Gone Egg Hunt this Saturday

MARCH 15 – Evening Update


Here’s as much local news as we could find through all this rain:

Tim Chuey Weather
Rain, but for how long?
Police out to sabotage ‘Beastie Boys Bandit’
Investigators have dubbed the suspect the “Beastie Boys Bandit” since some of his disguises look like they came out of their video for the song “Sabotage.”
Man charged after DEA searches home
A 25-year-old Eugene man faces multiple drug charges after the interagency US Drug Enforcement Administration Eugene Resident Office Task Force searched a south Eugene home Monday.
EWEB Rate Increase Public Hearing Tuesday
Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioners will gather public comments about a proposed water rate increase at a meeting Tuesday, March 15. Commissioners are considering an overall average water rate increase of 7.1 percent.
Oregon House votes to update child porn law
Oregon lawmakers have unanimously passed a bill that would require computer technicians to report images of child pornography.
Oregon couple want to ‘adopt’ old bridge
It’s not an adorable kitten or a child in need of a loving home, but Bob and Margaret Thurman are nonetheless intent on adoption.
Eugene man admits to $200K in fender bender fraud
Timothy Devon Huntley Jr. of Eugene plead guilty Tuesday to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in federal court.
FM rock station goes talk, swapping Ozzy for Glen Beck
KXL’s AM content will now be simulcast on 101.1 FM, according to the press release. There was no indication if the news format of KUFO would change back to music at any time in the future.
Oregon sees largest one-month rise in job since 1996
The state Employment Department says the state added nearly 10,000 jobs in February, the largest jump since before the Great Recession.
Lane County Popular Report released
The cliff notes version of the Complete Annual Financial Review for Lane County was released today.