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Jon Talton

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

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September 30, 2014 at 11:57 AM

When America built greatness

Seventy-nine years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam. He traveled by train from Washington and told the crowd, “I came, I saw and I was conquered…” by an “engineering victory of the first order — another great achievement of American resourcefulness, American skill and determination.” FDR went on: Throughout our national history we have had…

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Comments | More in Infrastructure

September 25, 2014 at 10:19 AM

The Touchables: Holder and the rackets

Wall Street must be relieved by the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, its fierce and unstoppable nemesis. From their prison cells, Kerry Killinger of Washington Mutual, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Sandy Weill of Citigroup, Stan O’Neal of Merrill Lynch, Hank Greenberg of AIG, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, credit default…

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Comments | More in Business scandals | Topics: Eric Holder, Washington Mutual

September 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Washington’s unemployment in charts

Maybe it was a bump in the road. August’s unemployment report for Washington — stuck at 5.4 percent, the same as July — was preliminary and might be revised for the better. The same might be true for the net loss of 1,500 jobs. After all, July’s jobs gain was revised upward from 7,300 to…

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Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

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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