Monday, March 31, 2008

The Argus Observes --- Federal Reserve analysis suggests Malheur County in good economic shape

By Don Lynch
From the April 6, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has just made its annual report on business in the seven western states during 1952. It’s main comment:

“The most notable feature of our economy in 1952 was its ability tooperate at record postwar levels of private and government spending without inflation.”

This is a well-phrased statement that undoubtedly applies to the Ontario and Malheur county economy just as genuinely as it does to the entire 12th district (western states) region.

The reason…is that inflation has already happened.

Now…the cost of living is dropping slightly, but so slightly as to hold promise of a stable economy. Thus it is good news in contrast to a sharp drop in living costs which would be bad news because it would be a harbinger of depression.

In one respect Malheur County and the whole interior Northwest differs sharply from the western state region as a whole.

The Federal Reserve Bank reports that the defense program was felt more strongly in the 12th District than in other parts of the country,” with high volume in construction, aircraft, ship building and machinery output.

No so in our region. Ours is an agricultural economy and we have felt little of the Korean War boom.

Instead we have felt the things that affect agriculture: the drop in the beef market, our most important source of income; and the improvement in some other markets such as potatoes, sugar beets and frozen foods.

These are the things that affect Malheur County’s economy. And they aren’t all bad by any means. . . .

The price of beef it at its lowest figure in many years, perhaps the lowest since the depth of the depression in terms of the real value of the dollar used today.

Now large supplies and lower prices have caused beef to be placed on the USDA “Plentiful foods” list for the first time in the 15-year history of this program.

A growing recognition of beef as an outstanding food because of its economy and the nourishment may create a more dependable market for cattle than the fast market caused by high prices.

In the meantime the promise of a better price for sugar beets and the rapidly growing market in frozen foods will boost both industrial activity and farm prices in Malheur County.

So we have another example of the stability provided by a farm economy, evidence again that this is a good place to live and work.

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