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.
And Don’t Miss: High-speed rail transforms China | NY Times
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Blackberry was hot
That was so 2008
Burned up on the vine
July 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM
• 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.
June 27, 2013 at 9:33 AM
Two new graphics from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show how residential building permits are faring in the slow recovery:
In the aftermath of the housing crash, Washington permits have a long way to go before they reach their old peaks. Note the severity of the falloff during the Great Recession compared with other recessions (marked in grey). For Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, the improvement is slightly more pronounced. Even so, it remains weak.