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Jon Talton

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

September 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM

One look at Seattle’s recovery, plus the 47 percent

The Brookings Institution’s Metro Monitor is out with data for the second quarter, indicating a general slowing among the nation’s 100 metro areas. Energy metros in Texas and Oklahoma held up well. San Jose, heart of Silicon Valley, ranked 4th nationally in its overall recovery score. Brookings reports: “Across the 100 largest metro areas, employment growth softened in the second quarter and the rate of output growth slowed. Unemployment rates dropped in about half of the metro areas but still remained above 6 percent in all but 12 metropolitan areas. Eighty seven metro housing markets reached new lows, reflecting a housing market yet to recover.”

As for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, it ranked 29th overall, up from 33rd in the first quarter. The housing price recovery ranked 14th. Manufacturing (up 7.2 percent) and construction (up 6.5 percent) led in employment gains over the past four quarters.

The monitor has its limitations, measuring only percent employment change, percentage point change in unemployment rate, percent change in gross metropolitan product, and percent change in house prices from recession lows. Thus New Orleans is No. 1 and Phoenix No. 3, even though both have basket-case economies. Phoenix’s showing is driven entirely by house prices rising from a spectacular collapse, and much of that improvement was driven by “investors” and has leveled off. Seattle didn’t fall as far as most metros.

On the other hand, Silicon Valley saw a 7.8 percent increase in information jobs over the last four quarters, while Seattle was minus 0.8 percent. Education jobs in Silicon Valley rose 7.1 percent; here it was up 0.3 percent. Elsewhere in the Northwest, metro Portland ranked 9th and Boise 6th.

And Don’t Miss: Context for Romney’s “47 percent” comments:

Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy, Tax policy

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