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. 

Sure, the U.S. economy has problems: income inequality, aging infrastructure and slowing entrepreneurship.

But cheer up, Americans. The latest figures on developed economies show the United States is in far better shape than other countries.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international group that tracks global growth, said Thursday that the United States is making one of the strongest comebacks in the developed world.