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Jon Talton

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

September 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Vote: Is Alibaba a threat to Amazon?

Shares in Alibaba Group surged as high as $99.70 today in its NYSE debut after its initial public offering was priced at $68. At $200 million, it will make the Chinese e-commerce company one of the most valuable in the U.S. market. Significantly, it will be a higher market value than Amazon, whose stock also…

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Comments | More in Amazon.com | Topics: Alibaba

September 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM

State’s income stagnant in 2013, poverty rises

First the good news: Washington’s median household income remains above the national average. The bad: It barely moved from 2012 to 2013. This information comes from a Census Bureau data dump today that also showed Seattle with the largest rent increase among major cities. That fits because Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue saw its median household income rise…

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Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy | Topics: Household income, inequality, poverty

September 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Lost in space: NASA and America’s ambitions

It’s one small step for a space program that has taken so many giant leaps backward. By awarding Boeing a $4.2 billion contract and SpaceX a $2.6 billion deal, the United States government will at least get domestic “taxis” to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station. Since the space shuttles were grounded in…

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Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing

September 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Seattle GDP posts strong showing

Gross domestic product for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue totaled nearly $285 billion in 2013, making us the 11th largest metro in the nation by output. Growth was also relatively strong at 2.4 percent. By comparison, GDP adjusted for inflation for all 381 metro areas in the nation was only 1.7 percent. Still. it was slower than the 4.7 percent…

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Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy

September 12, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Vote: Are sanctions on Russia wise?

Without being a Putin apologist, there are other lenses through which to see Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine and even break off eastern provinces as “New Russia” than raw Russian aggression. But the United States and, more reluctantly, the EU have been steadily imposing more sanctions in retaliation. I suspect this only boosts Tsar Vald’s popularity…

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Comments | More in Russia trade | Topics: Russian sanctions

September 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Nevada’s impossible Tesla gamble

I have hesitated to comment on Nevada beating out several states to win a coveted battery factory for electric automaker Tesla. After all, with Washington giving Boeing nearly $9 billion in tax breaks for the 777X, it might seem like a “pot, meet kettle” situation. But there are important differences. While distasteful and bowing to corporate…

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Comments | More in Economic development | Topics: Boeing, Nevada, Tesla Factory

September 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Low income ask, ‘What recovery?’

A report from the Federal Reserve found that last year 60 percent of Americans described their situation as “doing OK” (37 percent) or “living comfortably” (23 percent). That in itself makes for a highly conditional recovery. But lower-income Americans are especially continuing to suffer from the Great Recession and the economic toxins that preceded…

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Comments | More in Income/living standards

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