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Oregon headed for “mild recession,” say state economists

<p>The Oregon Capitol in Salem, Ore., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. A new bill passed by the Legislature this summer drastically limits application of the death penalty.</p>
Bradley W. Parks
The Oregon Capitol in Salem, Ore., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Economists updated lawmakers about the state's economic outlook Wednesday.

Oregon could be headed into a recession next year. That prediction was made Wednesday during a quarterly economist forecast to state lawmakers.

“It’s rather mild, at least from a historical perspective," said Oregon economist Mark McMullen, who added that signs point to a slowdown sometime in the second half of 2023.

The depth of any recession could hinge on factors outside of Oregon’s control, as the federal government tries to curb inflation.

"The big risk right now is the monetary policy overshooting," he said. "As the Federal Reserve slams on the brakes, does the car go into the ditch?”

In the meantime, McMullen said Oregon tax revenue remains strong, and he anticipates the state will hand out a record $3.7 billion kicker rebate at the end of the current budget cycle. He also noted that the state's financial reserves remain strong.

That part was noted in a statement released by Gov. Kate Brown, who is currently on an economic trade mission in southeast Asia.

"Because we have made prudent financial decisions, the state has the ability, if needed, to invest in resources to help Oregonians who may feel its impacts," said Brown, who is leaving office at the beginning of January due to term limits.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”