economy | KUOW News and Information

economy

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.

Take a drive down any highway in the Northwest, and you'll pass signs for dozens of small towns. There are more than 700 cities under 10,000 people in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Many of these towns came about because of railroads or timber or mines and now they’re trying to figure out what comes next.

It's nearly 2:15 in Avery, Idaho. The mail has arrived. And the post office is about to become the busiest place in town.

Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't mean to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.

"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. "I've also managed, supervised, wash[ed] dishes."

The College Kid

Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.

According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Conversation Talks Economics

Aug 21, 2013
Paul Krugman
Center for American Progress

We discuss the economy a lot on The Conversation. From the effects of the recession to financial planning, money is always in the news. Today, we rebroadcast some of our best interviews with economists and financial reporters, including a talk with Paul Krugman in front of a live studio audience.

Does Fewer Kids Mean Less Kid Friendly? Raising Children In Jet City

Aug 13, 2013
Flickr Photo/Michael Hanscom

 Seattle has one of the lowest populations of children in the United States. What does it mean when a city goes from a playground for kids to a playground for the rich? Ross Reynolds talks with Ali Modarres, professor of urban geography at California State University and co-author of a new report on the Childless City. And listeners answer the questions: Do you think is a bad place to raise kids? Did you leave the city to raise your kids in Shoreline or Bellevue? 

White House Photo/Pete Souza

President Obama is set to hold a news conference at the White House on Friday at noon P.T. — his first such formal give-and-take with the press corps since "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden started spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs in June.

Canada, Culture And Commerce

Jul 31, 2013
Flickr Photo/Kevin Dooley



Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer brings us the latest news from Canada, Everett Herald film critic Robert Horton looks at how rain is used in film and Michael Parks measures the global economic outlook, prospects for job growth in Washington and the latest moves by Amazon and Microsoft.

The debt-laden city of Detroit has been an incubator for new strategies in urban revitalization, including a downtown People Mover, casinos, urban farms, artist colonies and large scale down-sizing.

In the wake of the city's bankruptcy, many in the community are thinking small.

Just outside of downtown Detroit is a neighborhood called Midtown. Like many hip, urban neighborhoods, it's got hipsters on fixed geared bikes, yoga studios, boutiques for dogs.

How Will The President's Economic Plan Play In Washington?

Jul 25, 2013

President Obama has set off on a short trip with a few speeches discussing the long term needs of our economy, but what would these policies mean in Washington state? Ross Reynolds sits down with Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, and Paul Guppy, vice president for research at the Washington Policy Center, to find out more on what the president's goals mean for the Evergreen State.

Is Seattle Facing A Superyacht Crisis?

Jul 25, 2013
Flickr Photo/Cyr0z

Washington state is the number one producer of luxury superyachts in the United States. But the marine industry says state tax policy discourages luxury superyacht owners from spending more time and money in Washington state. What is a superyacht? Ross Reynolds finds out that and more when he talks with Peter Schrappen, director of government affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

Flickr Photo/Rennett Stowe


President Obama On The Economy 
President Obama is at Knox College in Illinois today to deliver the first of six speeches on the country's economy, part of an “economic conversation with Americans” over the next two months. While no new sweeping proposals are expected, the President does hope to gain public support ahead of fiscal deadlines coming in the fall. We talk with Peter Coy of Bloomberg Businessweek about what we can expect to hear.

Nancy Pearl Recommends
Book commentator Nancy Pearl stops by to recommend summer reading. She says readers should check out, "Winner of the National Book Award," by Jincy Willett. Also by Jincy Willett, "Jenny and the Jaws of Life," and "Amy Falls Down." Nancy also recommends "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.   

What's Raising Rents In Seattle?
Seattle has added nearly 2,000 apartments this year, but rents have gone up. The average renter in King and Snohomish counties now pays $1,190 dollars a month, a 5.8 percent increase over the past year. So what’s driving the skyrocketing rent prices? We talk with Glenn Crellin of the University of Washington’s Runstad Center For Real Estate Studies.

Seattleites Have An Easier Time On The Economic Ladder Than Others

Jul 23, 2013

It’s much easier to climb the economic ladder in Seattle than other affluent US cities such as Atlanta. That’s according to a new study by Harvard economists. So what makes Seattle a better place to grow up if you’re born into a low-income household? Ross Reynolds talks with co-author of the study, Nathan Hendren. 

Is The Minimum Wage Too Low?

Jul 18, 2013

Correction 7/24/13:  In the original broadcast of this interview we misstated that Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant advocates a minimum wage of $21.72 an hour. According to her campaign representative Devin Matthews, Sawant is calling for a $15.00 dollar minimum wage. 

A recent economic survey showed it costs over $52,000  for a one parent and one child family to live a modest lifestyle in Seattle. Would raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour bring more people closer to earning a living wage? Or would a $15.00 minimum wage just discourage employers from hiring? Ross Reynolds talks to Felix Salmon, financial reporter for Reuters, about the case for each side, and callers share their opinions on if we should raise the minimum wage.

David Rakoff's book "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel"

David Rakoff's new book comes out this week. It's a novel written in rhyming couplets. In the book, the main character is dying of AIDS. Rakoff wrote it as he himself was dying of cancer. This American Life's Ira Glass was Rakoff's  friend. The two spent some of Rakoff's final days together recording the audiobook version of the novel. In the excerpts Ira plays us today, Rakoff's voice is frail. But his words still convey inexhaustible power.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, July 17:

David C. Robertson's book "Brick by Brick."

What Families Need to Get By in Seattle
A new study by the Economic Policy Institute says that a family of four in Seattle needs at least $70,000 a year to maintain what they call a “modest lifestyle.” What does that look like? We talk with John Burbank of the Economic Opportunity Institute.

The Staying Power Of LEGO
Those colorful little plastic LEGO bricks were first invented in 1958. Fifty-five years later, LEGO is still profitable and growing. But 10 years ago, the company nearly went bankrupt. What turned LEGO around? What can businesses learn from LEGO’s example? We talk with David C. Robertson, author of “Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry.”

Greendays Gardening
Our expert gardening panel knows flowers, native plants and vegetables. Have a question? They offer guidance for your garden every Tuesday. Email your question to Weekday.

How Austerity Kills

Jun 26, 2013
Sanjay Basu, co-author of "The Body Economic."

Based on more than a decade of research on the impact of governmental policy decisions on health, the book "The Body Economic" shows how certain fiscal policies can be lethal. From HIV outbreaks to increases in heart attacks, the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. But by mining data from the Great Depression to the present day, the authors also show how smart policy choices can boost economic growth without human costs.

Sanjay Basu, is a co-author of "The Body Economic," a practicing clinician, and an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist at the Prevention Research Center of Stanford University. Basu talks to Ross Reynolds about how economic policy affects human health.

The Canadian dollar -- affectionately known as the "loonie" -- is dropping in value. 

Nerding Out With Matthew Yglesias

Jun 24, 2013
Matthew Yglesias' book "The Rent is Too Damn High."

  Matthew Yglesias is a business and economics correspondent for Slate Magazine. His latest book is called "The Rent is Too Damn High." He talked with David Hyde about the latest on the economy, politics and immigration.

It’s The Economy, Stupid!

Jun 21, 2013

As the quote by President Bill Clinton goes, one of the highest priorities on everyone's mind is the state of the economy. The International Monetary Fund released its most recent report on the state of the US economy this week. And the Fed says it will start rolling back its stimulus plan soon. So, what does this mean for US economic recovery? Felix Salmon is a financial reporter for Reuters. He explains the latest in economic news.

Are The Rich Undeserving?

May 28, 2013
Leslie McCall's book "Undeserving Rich."

 Do Americans feel that the proper measures are in place to deal with economic inequality in the United States? Ross Reynolds sits down with author Leslie McCall for a conversation about economics in America and her new book, "The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, And Redistribution."

Flickr Photo/bryce_edwards

Budget officials in the city of Seattle delivered some good news yesterday. For the first time since the financial crisis, the city is forecasting a budget surplus.

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