The latest quarterly Oregon economic report didn't contain any splashy news, but it does reconfirm that many Oregonians, especially in rural areas, continue to slip on the U.S. economic treadmill.
The main message is that overall economic recovery — and the tax revenue it generates — is proceeding at a steady, if slower-than-hoped-for, rate.
The report also showed a steady downward spiral in the economic fortunes of poorer Oregonians and of Oregonians that may be tumbling out of the middle class s a result of the aftershocks of the last recession.
Nowhere is the steady decline more apparent than in rural parts of Oregon, according to state economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner. They say younger rural residents who are entering their prime earning years are choosing to move to urban areas to chase their fortunes. That, in turn, the economists explain, could lead to a death spiral for the areas they leave.
Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, said the exodus is already underway. He blamed federal and state natural resources policies for squeezing the life out of rural economies and leaving rural wage-earners with "nothing to do."