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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

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January 13, 2015 at 10:38 AM

Seattle No. 11 in best-performing cities report

Take heart, ye boom fatigued. Seattle fell out of the top 10 of the latest Best Performing Cities report from the Milken Institute. It ranks No. 11 for 2014 vs. No. 6 the previous year. San Francisco came in first, followed by Austin, Provo-Orem, Utah, Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle. Tech centers accounted for 13…

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Comments | More in | Topics: City rankings, Northwest economy, Seattle economy

January 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Where jobs are growing in metro Seattle, in charts

November’s unemployment rate in King County was 4.4 percent — that’s what economists generally consider full employment. Pan out to the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro statistical area and the rate was 5.1 percent. It was still the 18th best in the nation but by comparison metro Denver and Austin were 3.9 percent and Minneapolis 3 percent. The feds…

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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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.

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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.

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

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