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economy

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting a record of nearly $13 trillion. And auto loans, home loans and credit card debt are all still on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That has some economists saying the lessons of the bubble of borrowing in the run-up to the Great Recession have already been forgotten.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

President Trump says he has a fix to the deep racial divide in America, blatantly exposed in the clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.

"I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I'm creating jobs, I think that's going to have a tremendously positive impact on race relations. I do. I do," he said in Phoenix on Aug. 22, adding that he thinks bigger paychecks will also help improve race relations.

Gentrification of neighborhoods can wreak havoc for those most vulnerable to change.

Sure, access to services and amenities rise in a gentrifying neighborhood. That is a good thing. But those amenities won't do you much good if you're forced to move because of skyrocketing housing costs.

That is why neighborhood and housing advocacy groups have spent decades searching for ways to protect longtime residents from the negative effects of gentrification.

At a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, President Trump made news by slamming Republican senators, praising controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and blasting the news media.

He also defended his initial, controversial remarks on recent violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. But in doing so, he left out the parts of the remarks that inflamed people's tempers the most, like his comment that there was violence "on many sides."

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond. But seven out of 10 American firefighters are actually volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

On a blazing hot day recently in western Kansas, two men have rushed from their jobs to douse a grass fire, for free.

"If somebody wasn't here to do it, this could get out of hand real quick," says Jason Lonnberg, with the Jetmore Volunteer Fire Department.

If you ever have to travel a long distance — say, Washington, D.C., to Atlanta, Detroit to Chicago, San Francisco to Los Angeles — you might be stuck with only bad options: a flight from an airport with chronic delays that's hard to get to, or an Amtrak train ride that costs three times as much as a flight.

Well, now there's a new option on the horizon: a double-decker bus with pods for sleeping. It's called, simply, Cabin. It's an overnight service — like a red-eye — designed for people who love going places, but hate being in transit.

Reusing (@AndreaReusing) is the James Beard award-winning chef at Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Novel and thrilling in earlier days, today's farm-to-table restaurant menus have scaled new heights of supposed transparency. The specificity can be weirdly opaque, much like an actual menu item that recently made the rounds: Quail Egg Coated in the Ashes of Dried Sheep's S***. Farm-to-table fatigue is most evident in those of us who cook in farm-to-table restaurants — Even We Are Sick of Us.

World Faces Global Sand Shortage

Jul 21, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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.

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