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 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.

For several years, Oxfam International has released an annual report on global wealth inequity. The numbers were startling: In the 2016 report, Oxfam said the world's richest 62 people owned as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion.

Britain's prime minister said Tuesday that the United Kingdom will walk away from the European Union's single market and unified court system, making a sharp break with its largest trading partner.

In a speech delivered about six months after voters passed a referendum requiring Britain to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May laid out a plan for what that split would look like, emphasizing limits on migration into the country.

Amazon announced on Thursday that it’s adding 100,000 jobs nationwide by the middle of 2018.

It's a huge growth spurt for the Seattle-based company. The hiring will boost Amazon's U.S. workforce from 180,000 to 280,000 people in just 18 months time. The company had just 30,000 workers back in 2010.

One of the most stressful questions a new parent confronts is, "Who's going to take care of my baby when I go back to work?"

Figuring out the answer to that question is often not easy. When NPR, along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, surveyed more than 1,000 parents nationwide about their child care experiences, a third reported difficulty finding care.

After years of requests from drivers, Uber has added a tipping function on its app
Flickr photo/Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/kAYh8Z

Uber and Lyft drivers will decide this spring on whether to form a union. This week, the city of Seattle finalized which drivers will get to voice their opinion.

Uber officials aren't happy.

The Great Recession ended 7 1/2 years ago, and job gains have been steady since, but greater demand for workers is only starting to increase pay.

The increases are still relatively modest, and the data are still mixed. In October, for example, the Labor Department reported average hourly earnings increased at a 2.8 percent rate — the highest since mid-2009, but wage growth slowed in November. A separate report this month showed the cost of labor — another measure of wage growth — increased especially during the spring of this year.

Patricia Murphy speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist John Talton about how President-elect Donald Trump's economic polices will affect the Puget Sound region. 

The widening gap between rich and poor Americans has pushed the chances of children earning more money than their parents down to around 50 percent, economic researchers say. That's a sharp fall from 1940, when 90 percent of kids were destined to move up the income ladder.

Unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 4.6 percent, last month — the lowest rate since 2007 — according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Deb Wang speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about the economic promises President-elect Trump made during the campaign and how local businesses like Boeing and Amazon might be affected by them.

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged a $1 trillion infrastructure spending program to help jump-start an economy that he said during the campaign was in terrible shape.

Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that as they consider such spending, they should keep an eye on the national debt. Yellen also said that while the economy needed a big boost with fiscal stimulus after the financial crisis, that's not the case now.

Brian Wahlberg gives daughter Luciena a good view of the proceedings as the crowd sings at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

In the liberal bastion that is Seattle, the response to the election was acute. People cried openly on buses and in cafes. Some took time off work to mourn in bed. It wasn't that their candidate had lost, we heard again and again, it was that they feared for the future.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 1 percent Thursday at an all-time high of 18,807.88, as investors bet that the Donald Trump presidency will mean less regulation and more potential stimulus spending.

Updated 10:28 a.m. ET

On Tuesday night, as the presidential election's outcome headed toward an unexpected Trump victory, stock futures plunged. Investors had bet heavily Monday on Democrat Hillary Clinton. As Republican Donald Trump picked up many more votes than polls had predicted, markets reacted violently to the change in expectations.

The last time Zimbabwe went into economic freefall, in 2009, inflation was a mind-boggling 200 million percent. Shoppers had to carry the colorful bank notes, in billion- and trillion-dollar denominations, in bags to pay for basics.

To address the crisis, President Robert Mugabe's government abandoned Zimbabwe's own currency and adopted the U.S. dollar as legal tender. That helped end hyperinflation and helped stabilize Zimbabwe's economy.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about why the World Trade Organization is calling Airbus subsidies "unfair," and why it won't have much effect on Washington's Boeing employees.

Steady job growth means Oregon's economy will continue to do well in the short term. But storm clouds are on the horizon. That was the prediction Wednesday from state economists.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about the economic pictures painted by incumbent Washington  Governor Jay Inslee and challenger Bill Bryant in their first gubernatorial debate.

In so many ways, 1968 was a great year for middle-class Americans' wallets — and terrible for politics.

On the one hand, gasoline was cheap and unemployment was low. Real estate values were rising, helping average homeowners build wealth. Good times!

Still, many people were not feeling good — at all. In 1968, the tumultuous presidential-election year brought strident clashes at political events, third-party disruptions, calls for "law and order," racial discord and worries about foreign enemies.

Sound familiar?

This Capitol Hill, Seattle home could be bought on a single middle class income for a family of six for $16,000 in 1957.
KUOW Photo/Emily Fox

When I thought about moving to Seattle a few months ago, I was shocked at how expensive everything was.

I grew up in a Michigan town where the average house is worth about $125,000 today, and rent goes for about half of what it is in Seattle.

Knowing the lifestyle that my middle class grandparents were able to have here 60 years ago, I wondered if that Seattle will ever be able to be achievable again for middle class folks like me.

"The middle class is disappearing" has been a standard line during this election cycle. As it turns out, it's not wrong.

The Great Recession killed a third of construction jobs in the Seattle metro. Despite our current boom, not all those jobs are back. CLICK ON THIS IMAGE for more graphs.
WA Employment Security Department: Anneliese Vance-Sherman

The last recession is long gone, but jobs still haven’t recovered in two major sectors. Both are tied to that last big bust: construction and financial services. 

The financial services sector isn’t back because lending is a much tighter business than it was during the run-up to the economic collapse in 2008.


Men between the ages of 25 and 54 are considered to be in their prime working years. But in the United States, the share of prime-age men who are neither working nor looking for work has doubled since the 1970s. Roughly one in six prime-age men in the U.S. are either unemployed or out of the workforce altogether.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump traveled to the small city of Monessen, Pa., on Tuesday to speak about the impact of international trade on U.S. manufacturing jobs.

As he has before, Trump launched a full-throated attack on globalization, pinning the blame on politicians he says have allowed the U.S. manufacturing base to get hollowed out.

"We allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, violate their agreements and cheat in every way imaginable. And our politicians did nothing about it," he told the crowd.

Demand is soaring for Seattle-area homes. Buyers who want to succeed are bidding up prices. This Seattle house recently sold for $100,000 over the asking price.
Seattle MLS

House prices in Washington state are rising faster than in any other state in the country.

Rents are also rising, and it’s all because Seattle companies are hiring. It’s an unusual predicament for people looking for a foothold in this real estate market.

Hillary Clinton delivered a stinging indictment Tuesday of both Donald Trump's business record and his economic policy prescriptions, an early effort to undermine what the business mogul has billed as one of his chief qualifications for the White House.

"We can't let him bankrupt America like we are one of his failed casinos," Clinton told supporters at an alternative high school in Columbus, Ohio. "We can't let him roll the dice with our children's futures."

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering the future of a public asset worth tens of billions of dollars: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Seattle skyline
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about whether or not Seattle can be affordable and have a booming economy. 

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