Follow us:

Jon Talton

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

January 6, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Other items on Seattle’s 2014 ‘do list’

Seattle dodged the bullet on Friday night. You know which one. It marks a defining moment in many ways, and not all of them good. The alternative was worse. Now, six days into 2014, what other guns are to our heads?

1. A new CEO at Microsoft. Here’s another big unknown facing another of the region’s prime economic clusters.  I am skeptical of the imperial CEO model, especially one where he or she starts laying off people and spinning off units to please Wall Street. Microsoft needs vision, a bias for action, someone to fix the bureaucracy — and listen to the employees. His or her actions will resonate for years here.

2. Ed Murray needs a successful start as mayor. Many of the economic aspects of this are found in a Seattle Met article. They include growing business in the city, bridging the divide with the Legislature on critical urban infrastructure issues, tackling street civility and leveraging the city’s prosperity to ensure livability and a national model for sustainable growth.

3. The minimum wage. Activists are pushing to make 2014 the year of the $15-per-hour minimum wage in Seattle. The battle can be constructive or destructive. It can also be a distraction, however well intended, from discussing the larger issues that are forcing so many people into low-wage jobs and removing rungs in the ladder up.

4. The ports. We still don’t have a solution to the unhealthy competition between the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma. Overall market share of the Puget Sound ports is not growing and big changes are looming, none favorable to us. We can’t merely hope that the wider Panama Canal is delayed.

5. Growth and jobs. Nearly everybody seems to be saying the economy will take off this year. Although I want to be wrong, I don’t see the fundamentals behind it. Seattle has been a fortunate outlier in actually recovering in this recovery. But plenty of people remain unemployed in the Pacific Northwest. Their suffering is being made worse by congressional cuts. The overall economy remains fragile, and that means Seattle’s new boom can’t be taken for granted.

This is only a start. Add your own priorities in the comments section (beyond “hire a real economics columnist at the Seattle Times”).

And Don’t Miss: Trends in the distribution of household income between 1979 and 2007 | The Big Picture

Today’s Econ Haiku:

That was a close one

Will it be a win all ’round?

Or a new PATCO?

0 Comments | More in

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►