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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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November 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The holiday outlook, in six charts

News about the most important season for the retail industry follows a predictable pattern: initial forecasts of robust sales, confused but generally optimistic noise as holiday shopping gets underway, the beginning of doubts at the end, followed by disappointing reality come February. I make no predictions. But here are six charts that show us where we…


Comments | More in Retail | Topics: Black Friday, Holiday shopping, Outlook

November 25, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Key lessons about China

Last week’s Seattle Times LiveWire panel discussion on China and the Northwest had an all-star cast, all with deep experience with the country. As moderator, here are some of the important concepts I heard: From Gary Locke, former U.S. ambassador to Beijing and Washington governor: striking contrasts. China is the world’s oldest civilization and yet also…


Comments | More in China economy and business | Topics: China

November 21, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Vote: Your holiday shopping plans

“Are you ready for the holidays?” If another person asks me that, I’m going to wrap them in a bow. I’m still mentally back in the catch-up from September. But here we are: Black Friday looms. The unemployment rate has fallen from 7 percent last November to 5.8 percent. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index is…


Comments | More in Retail | Topics: Black Friday, Holiday shopping, Retail

November 20, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Metro income growth hits the brakes

Growth in per-capita personal income (PCPI) for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue slowed to 1.1 percent last year after turning in a blistering 6.3 percent rise in 2012. We ranked 223 out of about 370 metros, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The national average was a 2 percent increase. Still, at $55,190 we were well above…


Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy | Topics: Northwest economy, Personal income, Seattle economy

November 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Industrial property gets vote of confidence

A new report from Marcus & Millichap, the commercial real-estate brokerage firm, indicates strong demand for industrial properties in the Puget Sound region, punctuated by an 800,000-square-foot building leased to at Stryker Business Center in Kent and the 540,000-square foot Des Moines Creek Business Park. Projects are being planned and coming online at record levels….


Comments | More in | Topics: Industrial development, Real estate

November 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Vote: Obama, illegal immigration and the economy

Reports say President Obama may use executive authority to enact an “immigration reform” of sorts, protecting some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work here. In a future column, I’ll take a closer look at the costs and benefits to the economy of the estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented…


Comments | More in Illegal immigration | Topics: illegal immigration

November 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM

After the first Veterans Day

Veterans Day has its origins in the commemoration of the Great War, which ended in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. In Commonwealth countries, it is Remembrance Day. America had enjoyed spectacular economic growth during the war, even before entering as a combatant on the side of the allies…


Comments | Topics: Herbert Hoover, John Maynard Keynes, World War I

November 7, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Vote: Obama and the economy

Here are some fun facts. When Barack Obama became president… The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent on its way to 10 percent. Last month it was 5.8 percent. The federal deficit was $1.4 trillion or almost 10 percent of gross domestic product. Now it’s about $483 billion or 3.3 percent of GDP. The deficit has fallen faster…


Comments | More in Politics and the economy | Topics: Election 2014, Obama, Obama economy

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