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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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July 23, 2014 at 10:42 AM

How part-time work is growing

Below is a chart that only an econ geek could love, but hang with me. I’ll give you a lollypop: It represents an attempt by economists John Robertson and Ellyn Terry of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to get a handle on the state of part-time employment in America in the wake of the recession….


Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

July 22, 2014 at 10:08 AM

A trio of summer business reading

My list of business books to take to the beach or vacation this summer is short but full of gems. Beth Macy’s Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local and Helped Save an American Town is the most stirring book about business since Richard Preston’s 1992 American Steel. The backdrop: more than 300,000…


Comments | More in Business books | Topics: Bill Gates

July 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Vote: The Fed’s independence

Huffington Post had this headline today: “Congress Fawned Over Ben Bernanke, But It Mansplains To Janet Yellen.” This officially marks the oversaturation of the word “mansplain.” It is also dead wrong, selective quotes notwithstanding. Bernanke faced withering criticism from Congress, which is a big reason why he is not serving another term. Alan Greenspan, acolyte…


Comments | More in Federal Reserve

July 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Seattle boom faces its first big test

Microsoft’s historic layoffs — 18,000 jobs total, at least 1,351 in the Puget Sound — will give us a sense of how strong and deep the Seattle economy is during what has been a frenetic upswing. Each layoff is a tragedy for the individuals and families involved. For the metropolitan area, Microsoft’s move comes at…


Comments | More in Microsoft

July 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Seoul searching: How KORUS is working out

The South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) went into force in March 2012. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, it “means countless new opportunities for U.S. exporters to sell more Made-in-America goods, services, and agricultural products to Korean customers – and to support more good jobs here at home.” It created America’s first…


Comments | More in South Korea | Topics: KORUS

July 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Washington exports up in 2013 while Northwest flattens

Last week, I reported on how the region’s exports seem to be performing (very well) through May of this year. Now we have the official trade data for last year from the International Trade Administration of the Commerce Department. Washington clocked in $81.6 billion in exports compared with $75.7 billion in 2012. The nearly 8…


Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy, Trade | Topics: Washington exports, Washington trade

July 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Vote: How is Microsoft’s Nadella doing?

Executing a turnaround of a proud institution requires deep knowledge and respect for its past, plus an unsentimental and incisive understanding of what’s not working. It takes the ability to lay out a vision, not merely from A to Z, but from A to B to C etc. — everybody knows Z, it’s the execution…


Comments | More in Microsoft

July 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Washington exports soar ahead in 2014

Despite uncertainty about the economies of China, Japan and Europe, Washington exports this year are doing well based on numbers through May. They totaled more than $35.7 billion, making Washington the third largest exporting state behind much more populous Texas and California. The data come from WiserTrade of Leverett, Mass. If that velocity continued, state exports for…


Comments | More in Trade

July 8, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Planes by trains

Unless, like me, you like to watch trains move through Seattle, the dramatic photos of 737 fuselages spilled into a Montana river may have been the first time you realized that railroads are an essential part of building airplanes in the Puget Sound. The bodies are made by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, a former Boeing division…


Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing, Railroads | Topics: Montana derailment

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