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Labor Day Woes and Wishes

Report
September 4, 2009By Joy Margheim Download PDF

Reviewing recession's impact on workers and policies for greater shared prosperity

Executive Summary

In the midst of a severe recession it should come as no surprise that the most recent economic data available this Labor Day are bleak. Oregon’s unemployment rate reached historic highs in May, all job gains from the previous economic cycle have been wiped out and economists predict a “jobless recovery.” Some parts of the safety net have served their function, but some have not. And wages have fallen for all income groups, though those at the top had ample cushion to soften the blow.

There’s much work to be done to build an Oregon that works for working families. To achieve the goal of an economy of shared prosperity there are some key actions that the state can take. Those include upholding the revenue measures enacted by the 2009 legislature, improving Oregon’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and shoring up the state’s Rainy Day fund to help smooth the effects of economic volatility.

Among the key findings in the report:

An economy of shared prosperity, with economic opportunity for all working families, won’t be built overnight. But Oregon can take decisive steps in that direction by affirming the revenue measures enacted by the 2009 legislature, improving the state Earned Income Tax Credit and shoring up Oregon’s Rainy Day Fund.

Taking those steps would make for better Labor Days in the years ahead.