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Jon Talton

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

Topic: Seattle economy

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

December 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Washington’s long road back to employment, in charts

The damage from the Great Recession isn’t over, not by a long shot. It will linger for years, even in booming Seattle. But Washington is doing much better on the employment front, particularly if the seeming stall in job growth from late summer doesn’t reemerge. Here’s how we got there. 1. The unemployment rate has steadily…


Comments | More in | Topics: Seattle economy, Seattle unemployment, Washington economy

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

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

September 19, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Did that recovery feel good? Sorry it was so brief

We shouldn’t be too complacent about the rise in Seattle unemployment to 5.2 percent in August from 4.8 percent the month before. True, one month does not a trend make and there’s always “noise” in data. But, as the Seattle Times’ Amy Martinez reported, the metro area’s joblessness hasn’t risen four-tenths of a percentage…


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

July 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Seattle flies ahead in metro exports

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranked fifth among the top 50 metro merchandise trade exporters in 2012. Higher than Dallas-Fort Worth. Higher than the Bay Area. Considering that we are the 15th most populous metro, this is punching above our weight big time. The newly updated rankings come from the U.S. International Trade Administration. No….


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Seattle economy, Tacoma

July 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Seattle’s income mobility scores well

An exhaustive new study finds that economic mobility is not dead in America, but it matters where you live. The Southeast, as well as parts of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan perform badly, as this map shows. But certain cities and regions do much better at enabling intergenerational mobility, according to researchers from Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley. As the New York TimesDavid Leonhardt writes,

Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows [sic], with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.

Indeed, the study found that children here who grew up in the relatively poor 25th percentile of national income distribution enjoy the same financial performance as adults as middle-class children (the 50th percentile) who grew up in Atlanta. And while race does matter, both white and black residents of Atlanta have lower economic mobility.


Comments | More in | Topics: economic mobility, Seattle economy

July 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Seattle faces scrappy rivals for tech crown

Creative class scholar Richard Florida has been digging into the geography of venture capital deals and high-tech startups, with a particular interest in how they are shifting from suburbs to cities, e.g. from Silicon Valley proper to San Francisco. His latest post has good news and bad news for Seattle.

Looking at venture capital deals by area code, Seattle’s 206 comes in at No. 10 nationally. The leaders are Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Los Altos), San Francisco, Manhattan and Boston. San Francisco leaped ahead of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara in Silicon Valley. Seattle comes in at No. 11 in dollar value, with Bellevue, Redmond and the Seattle suburbs ranked No. 16.

For my money, the Bay Area is sui generis with its combination of world-class universities, federal research operations, VC outfits and deep roots for technology companies going all the way back to Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett’s garage in 1939 and the defection of “The Traitorous Eight” from Shockley Semiconductor in 1957. So Seattle isn’t going to be the “next Silicon Valley.” No place is going to be the “next Silicon Valley.” Competing against New York and Boston is similarly unrealistic. The action is among the next tier, and here’s the bad news: Seattle faces formidable competition.


Comments | More in Tech economy | Topics: Seattle economy, Venture capital

July 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Cruise industry brings big footprint ashore here

A new report from the Cruise Lines International Association says that the state posted a record $764 million in direct spending and cruise-industry employment of 19,000 last year. That ranked Washington sixth among the states in cruise industry economic impact. Seattle was the eighth-largest cruise port in the United States with 464,000 passengers embarking,…


Comments | More in Ports of Seattle and Tacoma | Topics: Cruise industry, Port of Seattle, Seattle economy

July 15, 2013 at 9:55 AM

The power and limitations of metro nation

Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution lays out a compelling argument in the Financial Times (registration required) that the action in the Great Reset is coming from metropolitan areas, not paralyzed D.C.

These communities are not waiting for Washington, mired in partisan rancour, to get its act together. They are driving a “metropolitan revolution” – doing the work needed to increase jobs and restructure their economies. Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami are using local resources to boost private investment in economy-shaping infrastructure such as transit systems, ports and airports. Boston, Cleveland and New York City are refocusing their development on innovative, productive and export-driven growth rather than the pre-recession mixture of stadium building, homebuilding and consumption. Chicago, Houston and San Antonio are working to integrate immigrants, make early education universally available and equip young workers with the skills they need to compete globally.

As I have argued before, the fundamental units of competitiveness now are metropolitan areas. The real game is not Bellevue vs. Seattle, but metro Seattle competing for world talent and capital against Singapore, Shanghai, Amsterdam and the Bay Area. In the United States, the 100 largest metro areas generate three-quarters of the nation’s gross domestic product and hold two-thirds of its population. Katz writes, “More importantly, they contribute upwards of 90 per cent of educated workers, advanced industry jobs, patent creation and trade-oriented freight flow – assets that the nation needs for growth.”


Comments | More in Urban issues | Topics: Brookings Institution, competitiveness, legislature

July 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Warehouses, waterways, construction, wood, jobs and jets

Catching up:

• John Boyd of the location consulting firm The Boyd Co. gave a presentation here last month. It listed Seattle 10th among 29 cities in the western United States and Canada for operating costs of distribution warehouses. The cost in Seattle totaled nearly $19 million annually. In Tacoma, the total was $16.3 million; Spokane came in at $16 million; Portland, $15.6 million. At $23.6 million, Vancouver, B.C. led the list and the lowest operating cost was Quincy, Wash., at $14 million. After the recession, the report stated, “communities are actively courting logistics industries because the economic benefits are clear and compelling.”

• The American Waterways Operators annual report was released, examining the impact of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry. The trade association offers an encyclopedic look at the performance, challenges and issues of this industry that remains a foundation of the Puget Sound Economy.

• The property and construction consultants Rider Levett Bucknall reported that construction costs in the first quarter of the year in Seattle were less than 1 percent. It was among the lowest in the 12 cities surveyed.


Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing | Topics: construction, logistics, Maritime

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