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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

February 19, 2015 at 10:05 AM

On jobs, we can’t party like it’s 1999

As the chart shows, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett’s labor market has recovered and more from the Great Recession. The pay and quality of the new jobs is unclear — nationally, they have tended to be worse than what was offered in the jobs killed by the downturn. But we have another big asterisk. As of December, the metro division…

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Comments | More in | Topics: Seattle jobs

February 18, 2015 at 11:54 AM

Best Buy to open engineering center in South Lake Union

Best Buy today said it would open a technology development center in South Lake Union, taking the top floor of the Seattle Times Building. Set to begin operations in late spring, the office will employ more than 50 engineers, product managers, web architects and developers in the next year and is expected to expand to…

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Comments | More in | Topics: Best Buy, Cloud computing, South Lake Union

February 17, 2015 at 10:37 AM

Student loan delinquencies rise

For all the talk of deleveraging, American consumer debt remains extremely high by historical standards. Some say it’s because we lack self-control. It’s undeniable that as wages have stagnated, households have been forced deeper in debt to maintain their important role as “consumers” in a consumption-driven economy. At the end of the fourth quarter, consumer…

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Comments | More in Student loans | Topics: Student loan debt

February 13, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Vote: What is the Amazon boom cloaking?

As Warren Buffett famously said, “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” I’ve been thinking about that lately as I watch workers furious move ahead on one of Amazon.com’s headquarters towers. The online retailer/technology giant is responsible for a huge amount of construction in central Seattle, not only for itself…

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Comments | More in | Topics: Amazon, Friday polls, Seattle boom

February 11, 2015 at 11:12 AM

State exports up in 2014, capping impressive decade

Washington’s merchandise exports totaled more than $90.6 billion last year, compared with $81.6 billion in 2013. The year’s total is more than 140 percent higher than the value of merchandise exports in 2004, adjusted for inflation. The data come from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Commerce Dept. China continued to widen its lead as…

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Comments | More in | Topics: Washington exports

February 10, 2015 at 11:23 AM

What Texas knows about funding universities

Reading my colleague Katherine Long’s story on how university funding was the key factor in Michael Young leaving the University of Washington to accept the presidency of Texas A&M University, it breaks down two ways: current funding and a vision for future funding. Texas was only somewhat above the national average, adjusted for the cost…

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Comments | More in Universities/Knowledge economy | Topics: Michael Young, Texas A&M University, University of Washington

February 4, 2015 at 10:36 AM

Why Young may have jilted UW

Here’s one of my favorite Aggie jokes: Did you hear about the Cessna that crashed in a cemetery in College Station? Aggie search-and-rescue teams have recovered 300 bodies so far and are still digging. But it turns out the joke is on us. University of Washington President Michael Young has accepted the top job at Texas A&M…

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Comments | More in Universities/Knowledge economy | Topics: Knowledge economy, Micheal Young, Texas A&M University

February 3, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Advanced industries: The news is promising and scary

The most arresting finding in a new report on advanced industries in the United States is that employment in these fields has been stagnant since 1980. First, though, a little sugar. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranks very well in the new Brookings Institution report. Using 2013 data, we were: No. 2 out of 100 metros in advanced…

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Comments | More in Tech economy | Topics: Advanced industries, Northwest economy, Seattle economy

January 30, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Vote: Is Microsoft failing (again)?

The honeymoon is over for Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella. Quarterly earnings fell as the company’s traditional bread-and-butter cash machines faltered. Growth in cloud services was not enough to soothe investors, who have been driving share prices down amid a storm of doubt. It would be crass to call it karma. The hit pieces have…

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: Microsoft, Satya Nadella

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