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Jon Talton

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

Category: Jobs/Unemployment
October 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Contractors worry about qualified worker shortage

The Associated General Contractors released a report today where 83 percent of respondents said they were having at least some trouble finding qualified craft workers as the industry recovers. The trade association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, said this was a consequence of the nation’s educational system shifting away from teaching career and technical skills. The situation…


Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: construction

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…


Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

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

June 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

A reality check on jobs

After Friday’s report that the nation had added 217,000 jobs in May, it was widely reported that we had finally recovered all the jobs lost from the Great Recession. That downturn officially ended in June 2009. Unfortunately, this is not true. The labor force has grown since the collapse began in 2007, so we’re…


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April 8, 2014 at 10:21 AM

No, the jobs hole hasn’t been filled

With last Friday’s report that the economy added 192,000 jobs, we have now technically recovered all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. We’re back to 2008 levels of private-sector employment. You get a gold star if you said, “but it’s not 2008.” That’s the important “but” that should be in all the headlines. The working-age population…


Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: Seattle economy

January 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Vote: The economy in 2014

It’s a tough day to ask for your prediction for the new year. December saw only 74,000 jobs added to U.S. payrolls, far below what is needed merely to keep up with the natural growth of the labor force (around 125,000). Worse, it brought the average monthly growth for the year to 182,000 vs. 183,000 in 2012.


Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: 2014 predictions

November 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Minimum wage: Today SeaTac, tomorrow the nation?

Well, no. If the trend holds and SeaTac voters approve a $15-per-hour minimum wage, it will be very hard to translate this victory into a national movement.

SeaTac is a tiny municipality with only 12,000 registered voters. It has a large number of low-wage restaurant and hotel businesses that are captive to their proximity to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They will have little choice but to pay the new wage.

For that same reason, SeaTac won’t likely be a useful laboratory to examine the unintended consequences that critics warned about, or the benefits that supporters claim.

Enacting the wage in a city such as Seattle would be much more difficult, even though Mayor-elect Ed Murray has paid lip service to it. Business community resistance would be fierce and potent. And businesses would have more options: Move, close, cut back hours and refuse to hire the least-skilled workers.


Comments | More in Inequality, Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: minimum wage, SeaTac vote

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