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Jon Talton

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

September 29, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Metro unemployment, Boeing gets zinged, a fly on the wall with Bill and Warren

A busy Wednesday begins with news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that August unemployment for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellvue dropped to 8.5 percent from 8.7 percent in the same month last year. Metro Portland fell to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent.

In the Dept. of Ouch, Boeing may have to take a fourth-quarter charge because of delays with the 747-8, according to Bloomberg. “This is inexcusable — they should know that airplane like any airplane they’ve ever built, and then some,” said Howard Rubel, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. in New York who has a “buy” rating on Boeing shares. “They’ll figure it out eventually. I just believe the cost and the delay will detract from what they wanted to accomplish.”

Wonder what was off-limits in the conversation between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and some of China’s richest? The unsustainable relationship between China and America in debt and trade, no doubt. This was, after all, about philanthropy, not major policy. How about the demographic inflection point, where China has more retirees than new workers entering its economy? It could come as early as 2011.

The focus is on the changes AirTran passengers will face from a merger with Southwest. I just hope Southwest’s leadership doesn’t become like every other Tom, Dick and Carly in corporate America, obsessed with short-term results, Wall Street’s fickle whims and endless cutbacks. One thing that has made Southwest different is its emphasis on customer service and low fares, as well as a culture that values employees. Of course, if we had meaningful anti-trust enforcement, the government wouldn’t allow more consolidation that takes out competition.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

That Wall Street rally?

Thank Ben for the hot money

A boost that can’t last

Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing

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