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Jon Talton

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

November 9, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Chamber survey: Confidence growing among Seattle businesses

The Greater Seattle Chamber surveyed 1,200 businesses in King County, finding that 56 percent of respondents expect to do better next year. Only 7 percent see themselves worse off in 2011. Some 41 percent plan to do some hiring, most of these companies employing between 6 and 100 workers. There’s no baseline: This is the first year of the survey.

The most optimistic sectors: human services, international trade, food/beverage retail and IT/gaming. Among the least optimistic are real estate and construction, energy/environment, aerospace/manufacturing and government. The results were presented this morning at a Chamber breakfast at the Olive 8 Hyatt, with the keynote address by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The biggest draws to doing business in the Seattle area won’t be a surprise: Quality of life and vibrancy of the economy. Nor will the big concerns: transportation infrastructure and education. Specifically: We’re not producing enough college graduates in the fields with demand, such as gaming.

To the big question, Is King County a good place to do business? Pretty good, and much better than the doomsayers would have it.

None of this is particularly surprising. Seattle suffered less than many places in the Great Recession and is slowly coming out of it. But emphasis on slowly.

Jeff Marcell, the new CEO of enterpriseSeattle, said several international prospects have come back recently “to kick the tires” and look at setting up shop here. They range from clean tech to logistics. It can’t come soon enough: International Paper said this morning it would close its Bellevue corrugated container plant. Seventy six families will have a less optimistic holiday.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

They hate QE2

The world wants currency games

Only when they play

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