Energy and the Economy
Sponsored by Avista Corporation
Medford-Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
101 E. 8th St.Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847
Rebecca Scott, copywriter and owner of RJS Writing Service. She creates blogs, articles, website, and social media content. With a background in writing, marketing, digital advertising and social media, her passion is writing content that jumps off the page.
Attendees of the November Forum received an in-depth economic forecast from Dr. Grant Forsyth, Chief Economist for Avista. With a presentation titled, “Economic Outlook: It’s Complicated”, Forsyth foreshadowed the complexities of the current and future states of the economy. “It’s difficult to discuss where the economy is going because we are suffering from partisan conflict and policy uncertainty,” Forsyth said. However, to gain regional economic insight for the next forecast, Forsyth looked at GDP growth and inflation, employment growth, population growth and demographics, and building permits. Even without a recession, he stated the outlook is that the economy will decelerate. This is due to weak global growth, weak industrial production, and uncertainties with trade and policy. “I think there are two options in 2020,” Forsyth told the audience. “There will either be no recession, but with slower growth, or we’ll have a recession.” Forsyth then presented a variety of graphics related to the Rogue Valley. The first displayed non-farm employment growth in the region from 2015-2019, with numbers showing a slowing of employment growth.
The following graph was about the Rogue Valley Employment Contribution from 2009-2019. About 17,000 jobs were added during that time, with Education and Healthcare contributing an overwhelming 37% to private sector employment gains.
“The healthcare sector is a big driver of how well a community is doing economically,” explained Forsyth. There are two sources of population growth, Forsyth added, which are natural rate and in-migration. Population growth in our region is dependant on the latter. In the Rogue Valley, Forsyth has seen some interesting economic trends. In the past two years, there were bumps in the number of single family and apartment permits, as well as an increase in commercial permits in 2019. And while the housing market in the Rogue Valley has been robust, it is slowing down. With a median home price of nearly $300,000, he said this may deter buyers looking for a “starter home.” Despite some positive trends, Forsyth sees more downside risks for the next economic forecast. “If there was less partisan conflict and policy uncertainty, I would feel better about the outlook for  2020.”

The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847

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