Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
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September 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Last week, I reported on the latest Census data for poverty nationally: The poverty rate in 2012 was 15 percent, with 46.5 million living below the official poverty line. That’s 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007 and close to a post-War on Poverty record. Of this, 43 percent were in “deep poverty,” with half below the poverty line. In 2000, the rate of poverty was 11.3 percent. In the late 1950s, before LBJ’s War on Poverty began, the rate was above 22 percent. Now we have data for states and metropolitan areas. In Washington, 13.5 percent were below the poverty line; Oregon, 17.2 percent; Idaho, 15.9 percent, and Alaska, 10.1 percent. These were little changed from the previous year. In 2000, Washington’s poverty rate was 11.6 percent.
Among the largest metropolitan areas last year, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue logged in 11.7 percent, also little changed. Among the hardest hit metros were Detroit, California’s “Inland Empire” and Phoenix.
Another report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed the most recent metro gross domestic product. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue posted $258.8 billion in GDP compared with $243.8 billion in 2011. Spokane’s rose to $20.3 billion from $19.7 billion. For Portland, 2012 GDP was $147 billion vs. $138.5 billion. Of the 10 biggest metros, the three with the fastest real GDP growth were San Francisco (7.4 percent), Houston (5.3 percent), and Dallas-Fort Worth (4.3 percent). Technology and oil.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
Blackberry was hot
That was so 2008
Burned up on the vine
September 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM
The Census Bureau reported today that median household income was essentially stagnant last year, at $51,017. Adjusted for inflation, that leaves income 8.3 percent lower than where it stood in 2007 before the recession. The poverty rate was 15 percent, with 46.5 million of our fellow citizens living at or below the official poverty line. That’s 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007 and close to a post-War on Poverty record. Of this, 43 percent were in “deep poverty,” with half below the poverty line. In 2000, the rate of poverty was 11.3 percent. In the late 1950s, before LBJ’s War on Poverty began, the rate was above 22 percent.
The Gini ratio, which measures income inequality was basically unchanged at 0.477. Still, it is at a record high. In the late 1960s, it stood around 0.39. As was reported recently, the top 1 percent made up all their losses from the downturn and have accumulated a record share of national income.
Breaking down the numbers reveals a grim picture of not just stagnation, but in many cases a retrograde move. The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989.