Washington, D.C. -Today while attending the National Governor’s Association conference in the nation’s capitol, Governor Ted Kulongoski cited Oregon’s steady growth in employment over the past year as proof that his aggressive efforts to create jobs and stimulate the economy are delivering results.
“Oregon has turned the corner, and our economy is growing more than twice as fast as the national economy,” Governor Kulongoski said. “That means we’re doing something right. Over the past three years, Oregon’s economy has generated more than 100,000 new jobs, and these new jobs benefit everyone. When we lower unemployment, we reduce the demand for social services and stimulate the local economies in communities throughout Oregon – creating opportunity for Oregonians to pursue their dreams.”
According to today’s report by the Oregon Employment Department, the number of jobs in Oregon has grown by an average of 50,400 jobs a year in 2004 and 2005. In January of this year alone, the report showed that non-farm payroll rose by 2,900 jobs, continuing a rapid growth rate over the past two years. Manufacturing and trade posted better numbers than usual for this time of year. Overall, the state unemployment rate is the lowest in the past five years.
“I’ve often said that the best social program is a family-wage job,” the Governor said. “Personal problems and family crises are more manageable when someone in the family has a good job. Jobs give families hope.”
The Governor said that Oregon’s public works programs have contributed to job growth, especially the $2.5-billion bonding program to upgrade roads and bridges, which the Governor shepherded through the legislature in 2003. Another contributor to more new jobs is the “Connect Oregon” program, which has begun upgrades to rail facilities, airports, ports and mass transit.
“By improving our roads, bridges and other transportation assets, we do more than make them safer for Oregonians and their families,” the Governor said. “We enable businesses to move their goods and services more efficiently and more profitably, which means a stronger bottom line for Oregon companies.”
Since taking office he Governor has also aggressively recruited new companies to relocate in Oregon, with notable results. Amy’s Kitchen, the organic frozen food process, relocated to Medford, bringing 200 new jobs to that community. Lowe’s, the home-improvement giant, opened a distribution center in Lebanon, while Google, Yahoo, Royal Caribbean and Wachovia all opened new facilities in Oregon.
The Governor has been equally aggressive in promoting Oregon as a center for high-tech research, development and manufacturing.
“All these efforts contribute to Oregon’s overall prosperity,” the Governor said. “We may be talking about nanotechnology development, high-definition TV, or new warehouses for manufacturers. All these new create new opportunities for our children. All create jobs that enable people to buy food, clothing, fuel, houses and countless other products. Creating new jobs makes the future bright.”