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The statewide unemployment rate for Washington is holding at its record low in the latest jobs report out Wednesday. The state's Employment Security Department pegged the jobless rate in June at 4.5 percent, the same as in May.


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Courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whattookyousolong.org/">What took you so long</a>

Nasra Hussain Ibrahim was 11 when she realized she’d have to do something drastic if her family was to survive.  

They lived in Hiiraan, a rough region in south-central Somalia where al-Shabaab, a hard-line, al-Qaeda-linked group, and local clans clash. The militants force children to fight, they take over and shutter schools and rape and force girls to marry fighters, while imposing a warped, violent version of Islam. Those who don’t obey face execution by stoning.  

If the world does nothing to limit carbon emissions, the US economy will suffer — but, according to a new study published Thursday in Science, the Pacific Northwest might actually benefit.

Climate scientists agree that this century is getting much warmer and that such warming will likely bring economic pain to the U.S., but economists aren't sure how much. Now, a team of scientists and economists, writing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science, says it can at least tell which parts of the country are likely to suffer the most.

The Ballard Locks link Puget Sound with Lake Washington and Lake Union.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

This year marks the 100th anniversary for the Ballard Locks and a new report says its age is showing. It faces a repair bill that could be from $30 million to $60 million.

El Balcon, Bremerton. The city ousted the tiny restaurant during the recession but invited it back after its owners and their five children became homeless.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When Mario Amaya first set foot in Bremerton in 2009, he fell in love.


Houses in Queen Anne
Flickr Photo/Harold Hollingsworth (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9C1rMq

Bill Radke talks to Denise Rodriguez, the deputy director of Washington Homeownership Resource Center, and Skylar Olsen, a senior economist at Zillow, about what makes the Puget Sound real estate market so competitive and how people are able to find and afford housing. 

Amazon is attempting to lure low-income shoppers from Walmart by offering a discount on its pay-by-month Prime membership for people who receive government assistance.

The giant online retailer said in a statement Tuesday that people who have a valid electronic benefits transfer card — used for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, or food stamps — will pay $5.99 per month for a year. Amazon is offering a 30-day free trial for qualifying customers.

This year, 25 states and the District of Columbia are considering measures that would bar employers from asking job candidates about their prior salary. Last year, two states — California and Massachusetts — adopted similar policies, aimed at trying to narrow the pay gap for women and minorities.

When President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, unveiled the administration's budget blueprint earlier this week, which calls for significant cuts to food stamps, he noted that the aim of the budget was to get people working.

"If you're on food stamps and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you're on disability insurance and you're not supposed to be — if you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work," Mulvaney said Tuesday.

An example of a 400 square foot backyard cottage.
KUOW Photo/paintchipdiaries (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CXL53

Seattle officials are taking another shot at regulating Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rentals. City Councilmember Tim Burgess is proposing new rules after a similar plan last year attracted opposition from the rental industry.

Here's the good news about young adults in the U.S. over the past four decades: More of them are working full time and year-round.

In 1975, close to 67 percent of adults from ages 25 to 34 were employed full time, and that share increased to 77 percent by 2016, according to a new report on young adults by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

The Trump administration is lifting a federal hiring freeze as of Wednesday morning.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the policy change in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.

Cautioning "this does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly," Mulvaney said the across-the-board hiring freeze the president imposed by executive order three days after taking office in January is being replaced with a "smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan."

President Trump's updated executive order, the one restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, is blocked for now.

But administrators at Northeastern University in Boston aren't taking any chances.

"We're in a state of limbo," says Mike Armini, who oversees government relations. "We don't quite know what's going to happen next, so we've advised them to stay here," he says, talking about the 250 Northeastern students from those six countries.

The U.S. women's national soccer team has agreed to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer, concluding a protracted dispute over their union contract.

File photo of Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The city of Seattle's law to let Lyft, Uber and taxi drivers form a union has been halted in federal court. The law is the first of its kind in the nation.

There's a compelling question at the heart of a report released this week by the Metropolitan Planning Council: If more people — especially educated professional white Americans — knew exactly how they are harmed by the country's pervasive racial segregation, would they be moved to try to decrease it?

At the very southernmost tip of Illinois, the pancake flat cornfields give way to the rolling, forested hills of the Delta.

Here, at the windy confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, it feels more southern than Midwest when you arrive at the old river port and factory town of Cairo, once made famous in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But Twain might not recognize Cairo today.

Bill Radke talks to Jon Talton, Seattle Times economics columnist, about what it would mean for the Northwest if the proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health funding were enacted.

Photo courtesy of Nikki Barron

What difference can a day make? For half of the world’s population who struggle with social, economic, and political inequity, a day honoring women may be only symbolic, but could be life changing.

Farm in Skagit Valley, WA
Flickr Photo/liquid crash (CC BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/pkebdP

As the Trump administration rolls out new rules on immigration enforcement this week, a bipartisan coalition of business leaders and mayors has launched a new data project that highlights the economic impact of immigrants in the United States.

What's in a name? A lot, according to a new study from researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, both in Canada.

Will Vancouver continue to be a stand-in for Seattle in film and television.
Flickr Photo/Alex Costin (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rTJE31

The Trump presidency is dampening some Canadians’ enthusiasm for travel to the United States.

That’s according to the Conference Board of Canada, a not-for-profit group that tracks economic trends.

Gary Locke is former U.S. ambassador to China and former Governor of Washington State
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

Gary Locke worries the Trump administration is lurching toward a twofold disaster in its China policy.

But he's also hopeful that disaster can be avoided.

Flickr photo/Bill Holmes (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/tujYE

Political scientist Mark Smith says President Donald Trump's tweet against Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom is one form of corruption.

"It's using public office to enrich yourself or your family members," Smith told KUOW's Kim Malcolm.

"We've been able to avoid that for most of our history."


Since its founding in the 1950s, the Indian Health Service has provided medical care for many Native Americans. But the service has been chronically underfunded, so often pays for care only if someone is in immediate danger of losing life or limb.

 David Rolf, president of SEIU 775, which represents home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

What if you got paid $1,000 month ... for doing nothing? That’s a serious proposal that one prominent Washington state labor leader wants President Donald Trump to consider.


The Dow Jones industrial average cruised past another milestone Wednesday — the 20,000 level, further evidence of the long bull market that has lifted share prices since the depths of the financial crisis.

The index closed at a record 20,068. Since the November elections, the Dow and the broader S&P 500 are up 9.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

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