Aug 292015
 
The recovery: Still tepid

Good on us that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate estimated at 3.7% in the April-May-June quarter rather than the 2.2% rate announced as the first estimate a month ago. But don’t get too excited. State and local government spending accounted for a higher-than-average share of the growth [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 122015
 
Condemned to slow growth?

June marks the end of the sixth year since the Great Recession passed into history. At 18 months, it was the lengthiest recession since World War II, surpassing the 16 months of the other notably long-lived  post-war recessions, ended in March 1975 and November 1982. For duation, of course, the [continue reading . . . ]






May 102015
 
Good jobs report, but . . .

Friday’s jobs report showed the U.S. headline unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4%, the lowest since mid-2008. Good for us, but hold the applause. The underemployment rate, including those working part time involuntarily, remains relatively high (10.8%) for this stage of the recovery. It has been nearly six years since [continue reading . . . ]






Mar 182015
 
Managed depression

Why are interest rates so low? The best answer, says Martin Wolf, principal economics columnist of the Financial Times, is that the globe’s advanced economies remain in a “managed depression.” This is the phenomenon that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has in mind when he writes and speaks about [continue reading . . . ]






Feb 232015
 

Overview bullet points ahead of my economic-update presentations last week to the Northwest Wall & Ceiling Bureau (slides here), a trade association, and the Economic Development Association of Skagit County (slides), perhaps Washington’s most successful economic development association: Listen to the music of the global bond markets. The tune they [continue reading . . . ]






Feb 122015
 
Got your ticket yet?

Headed for Europe soon? Your timing couldn’t be better. The dollar is up almost 15% against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners in six months, and almost 29% since July 2011. The currencies in question are the euro, the Canadian dollar, the Japanese yen, the United Kingdom pound, the [continue reading . . . ]






Dec 122014
 
Bright lights, big city

The economy of the Seattle area seems as strong as it has been in my 40 years covering the economy as a financial journalist. Amazon’s voracious demand for office space is remaking downtown Seattle and South Lake Union. The pace is breathtaking, and shows no signs of abating. The company [continue reading . . . ]






May 122014
 
Income inequality illustrated

For a presentation May 8 to the Washington Alaska Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, I added to my talk a few comments on income inequality. It is not hard to find ways of illustrating growing income inequality in the United States and elsewhere. Here a few slides prepared [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 192013
 
Still a Great Disappointment

The Great Recession (January 2008-June 2009) was less severe and the recovery stronger than we thought at the time. But it was still the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. And the recovery remains the Great Disappointment. Uncle Sam in late July published national income and product accounts updated [continue reading . . . ]