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economy

New numbers for December from the Washington state employment department peg the current jobless rate at 6.6 percent. The last time it was lower was in November 2008.

Flickr/401 (K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with economist Dean Baker about why tax rates for wealthy Americans are going up and how that could impact economic disparity.

How Much Is Your Mother Worth?

Jan 10, 2014
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with professional hacker and author Joshua Klein about why who you know is more valuable than what you have.

What Exactly Does The Head Of The Fed Do?

Jan 7, 2014
Flickr Photo/Tim Evanson

Ross Reynolds talks to Washington Post Economics columnist Neil Irwin about what the The Federal Reserve System is and what exactly the chair of the Fed does.

Flickr Photo/Henry Alva (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde discusses with economics columnist Jon Talton Boeing and Microsoft's big decisions and how they will effect the Puget Sound economy in 2014.

In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.

Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.

"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.

The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.

The unemployment rate in Washington dropped a notch in November.

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

Ireland was one of the countries hardest hit by Europe's debt crisis. On Sunday, it passed a big milestone when the nation became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

After three years of the bailout program, it isn't hard to find signs of improvement in Ireland and of an economy coming back from the dead.

"Don't get me wrong, it's been bad in a lot of ways, but there's a silver lining in every cloud," says Conor Mulhall, a 41-year-old father of three.

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about the impact of NAFTA on Washington state's economy.

The improving employment picture in the Northwest isn't good news if you teach at a community college.

Some of the sanctions against Iran will be eased under an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers over the weekend. In return, Iran promises to temporarily curb part of its nuclear program.

There's widespread agreement that sanctions have worked, squeezing Iran financially and bringing its leaders to the negotiating table. Iran's economy is, by any measure, in terrible shape.

Flickr Photo/Henry Alva (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, about how cities are becoming a fix to the economy and to politics.

Washington state hit a 'soft patch' in hiring and is looking at slow overall growth. That news comes from two new data points on the Washington economy out Wednesday.

Boeing said Thursday it has no further plans to negotiate with its Machinists after the union voted against a  contract extension Boeing said was key to its decision to build the 777X in the Puget Sound region. Now the company said it is looking at other locations. It said it would continue to consider the Puget Sound region, but as part of a competition with other places.

The Cost Of The Partial Government Shutdown

Oct 17, 2013

The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion according to research from Standard and Poor’s . Other analysts peg it at a few billion higher or lower. But what is certain is that the shutdown had a major economic impact, curtailing  annual growth in the fourth quarter to 2.4 percent , down from 3 percent , according to S&P.

The shutdown is over, for now. The agreement passed by the Congress and signed by the President keeps the government open until January 15. The debt ceiling has been raised through February 7. Jon Talton writes a column on business and the economy for the Seattle Times, he explains what we have gained and lost from the partial government shutdown.

Fighting Foreclosure: Home Is Where The Bank Says It Is

Oct 11, 2013
KUOW Photo/Kendra Hanna

Natalie Johnson and her family lived in their rental home in Edmonds, Wash., for seven years. It was the longest they had lived anywhere.

Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Construction is now the fastest-growing industry in Washington state. Construction cranes fill the skyline. Public works projects like light rail lines and the tunnel project snarl our streets. But despite appearances, construction has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 recession.

Flickr Photo/World Bank Photo Collection

The biotech industry took a big hit during the recession, and it can still be difficult in this area to find and keep work in that field. But for those looking to enter the industry there are a few things you should keep in mind. Luke Timmerman, the national biotech editor at Xconomy, an online business and technology blog, explains what you should consider before taking a job in biotech and the challenges of the industry.

Flickr Photo/Mayor McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn presented his 2014 budget proposal yesterday. In a speech before the Seattle City Council, he outlined a plan to boost spending for a host of government programs — from police staffing to universal preschool.

McGinn said the city is in a position to spend more because tax revenues are coming in stronger than expected. “Construction remains strong, our sales tax and real estate excise tax are exceeding forecasts," he said. "That means we can make new investments in our people and our infrastructure.”

Washington's Job Recovery In Numbers

Sep 20, 2013
KUOW Photo/Jake Warga

This week, KUOW has been taking a deeper look at the jobs recovery in Washington state in our series, The Big Reset. In this segment, we're talking numbers: unemployment, wages, industry trends. And the good news is, Washington is doing all right.

The unemployment rate here has mirrored the national average at around 7 percent. Ross Reynolds talks with regional labor economist, Anneliese Vance-Sherman about Washington's recovery and industry trends.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

The US Census Bureau released numbers this week looking at poverty rates and wages across the US in 2012. Our local numbers reflect what’s happening around the country: the number of people living in poverty has stagnated and wages have stayed about the same.

At first glance, this may seem like good news, or even non-news. But the census numbers reveal a larger picture of what’s happening in the wake of the recession: that people in low and middle income brackets aren’t really experiencing a recovery.

Jennifer Romich is the director of the West Coast Poverty Center and an associate professor at the UW School of Social Work. She told KUOW's Marcie Sillman the "statistically insignificant" numbers from the Census Bureau paint a concerning picture of many people that are unable to get ahead financially.

KUOW Photo/Jake Warga

Welding torches have sizzled at the Vigor Industrial shipyard on Seattle’s Harbor Island for a century. But the men and women behind the welding masks in this particular warehouse have only been at it for two weeks. The demand for skilled welders is so high that the shipyard and the state are now paying to teach the skill to displaced workers.

Flickr Photo/Daniel Spils

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable apartment in Seattle, Bellevue or Tacoma – good luck. Rents in these urban areas continue to climb higher while people’s earnings remain stagnant, according to a new annual census report released Thursday.

Slow and steady. That’s how Washington’s chief economic forecaster sums up the recovery in state revenues.

karenducey.com/Karen Ducey

Nursing schools around the country have seen a jump in enrollment in the last few years. Many students were hoping to get in on what was supposed to be a recession-proof field: the growing health care sector. Instead, new graduates faced a tough market.

Flickr Photo/Chatham House, London

Larry Summers has pulled out of the running to be the next head of the Federal Reserve.  The former treasury secretary and Harvard president was said to be the leading candidate for the position to replace Ben Bernanke. So why did Summers withdraw?  Joining Ross Reynolds with the latest on what’s going on in the other Washington – and what’s at stake for the country – is Annie Lowrey.  She's covering the story of the next Federal Reserve chief for the New York Times.

When Money And Love Collide

Sep 16, 2013
Flickr Photo/Jenifer Correa

It's no surprise that money stress doesn't bode well for romance. For many couples, decisions like marriage, divorce or children hinge on the question: Can we afford it? Marcie Sillman talks with UC Santa Barbara economics professor Shelly Lundberg and couples counselor and director of UC Los Angeles' Sexual Health Program Gail Wyatt about how money impacts our love lives.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The economic downturn attributed to the Great Recession tested the resilience of many workers and careers.

King County’s unemployment rate is more than 2 percent lower than the national rate. In fact, the Seattle area is seen as a bright spot in the recovery. But the farther you get from the big city, the more likely a  different picture emerges. In some rural areas, incomes and job security are lower, and this has made for a tougher recovery.

Flickr Photo/Herr Hans Gruber

A group of business and civic leaders including Bill Gates Sr. have issued a report calling for the University of Washington to admit more in-state students. They also say the UW needs to recruit more leading academics.

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