DHM Research

Oregonians Remain Gloomy About the State’s Economic Conditions, While Most Feel Good About Their Personal Financial Situation.

Oregon’s Economic Conditions

2023 started with dire warnings about economic conditions in the United States, with many economists predicting a recession was a certainty. And yet, 2023 saw strong job growth, low unemployment, rising stock prices, and declining inflation. But, despite these positive trends, Americans have continued to rate the economy poorly.

DHM Research regularly asks Oregonians to rate the state’s current economic conditions, which we did again at the end of last year. In December 2023, 38% rated the state’s economy as good, while 54% said it was in poor shape. However, December’s ratings were up slightly from August 2023.

From left to right, 1 donut chart and 1 set of 4 horizontal bar graphs by demographic depicting how Oregonians responded to the question, "How would you rate Oregon's current economic conditions?".
Line chart depicting Oregon economic condition ratings from June 2019 to December 2023, with a line for very good + good and a line for poor + very poor.

Ratings of broad economic conditions have become partisan over the last two decades. You can see this clearly in data from Civiqs, a national public opinion firm. The two graphs below show “net good” economic ratings among Democrats and Republicans, respectively. The shift in opinion was stark and swift with the change of party in the White House.

The partisan divide exists in Oregon too. In the December 2023 survey, Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to rate the state’s economic condition as good (55% vs. 22%).

Partisanship is not the only factor shaping opinions. We also see differences by age, income, and educational attainment. There was a particularly large difference by education, with college grads two to three times more likely to say economic conditions were good than those with less education (62% vs. 19-33%).

Personal Financial Situations

People’s perceptions of the broad economic conditions are important, but they don’t necessarily tell us about the lives of individual Oregonians. In the December 2023 survey, we also asked people to rate their personal financial situations. We found an 18-point gap between the measures, with 56% rating their personal finances as good compared to 38% who rated Oregon’s economic conditions as good.

From left to right, 1 donut chart and 1 set of 4 horizontal bar graphs by demographic depicting how Oregonians responded to the question, "How would you rate your current financial situation?".

The gaps in ratings are especially large among Republicans (36 points), those with incomes above $100k (32 points), and people ages 65+ (29 points).

Matrix table depicting data results for "good Oregon conditions" versus "good personal finances" and the difference between the two. Rows are organized by different demographics, including: age, education, income, and political affiliation.
Going Forward

DHM Research will continue to ask Oregonians about the broader economy and about their personal finances. However, because the ratings of the economy have become so closely tied together with partisanship, we will be paying more attention to how Oregonians rate their own lives.