Down in Education Up in Child Health
Oregon has work to do to improve its support of children, a new report finds. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book assesses states on key indicators of how children and families are faring, and this year ranks Oregon 31st overall. Results were mixed among the different indicators. Oregon ranks 40th in education, but has made strides in health, up to 21st this year. Tonia Hunt, executive director of Children First for Oregon, says Oregon made health coverage a priority several years ago.
“And we’ve seen how that’s benefited our kids, not only in terms of their access to coverage but also their health outcomes, and the results we’re seeing from that are going to improve a whole generation. We need to do the same in other areas of child well-being.”
The state has steadily chipped away at the rate of uninsured children. According to the report, only four percent of Oregon children are uninsured. Expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Premium under the Affordable Care Act, as well as the Oregon Health Plan, have been key to health improvements.
Gasoline Prices Dip
The Price of regular gasoline continues to drop amid higher than normal demands across the country. Nationally the average price dipped 4 cents to 2.33 a gallon while in Oregon a small slip going down a penny to $2.70 a gallon. Here in Florence the average is sitting around 2.35 a gallon. With the beginning of the summer driving season the price was expected to climb a little, but an increase in refinery output, an unexpected build up of crude oil helped to hold the prices down. Oregon is still sitting in the sixth position for the highest gasoline prices in the nation. California being in the number one spot for the contiguous United States at 3.04 a gallon.
Oregon Unemployment Rate at All Time Low
Oregon’s job picture continues to look good as we begin transitioning into the summer months and a normal increase in the unemployment rate, but State Employment Economist Nick Belachek says it hasn’t hit yet.
206: “The unemployment rate has reached a new record low of 3.6 percent. That’s the lowest its been since we have records going back to 1976.”
The climate has changed from a business advantage to a labor advantage as employers try to find workers.
207: “Oregon’s labor market is very healthy right now, we’ve moved from a situation of needing to have jobs for unemployed workers the situation where businesses are trying to find workers for the jobs they have.”
Belachek says the largest growing sectors have been in leisure and hospitality, private educational services, and professional and business services.