Michael Luis is a public policy consultant who has been wrestling with housing, growth and economic development issues around Washington State for over 30 years. He is author of several books on local history and served as mayor of Medina.
Even with this new, detailed data on unemployment claims, we really do not know how many people are unemployed in the traditional sense. Epidemiologists are not the only ones laboring under a lack of good data.
It seems we are hard wired to focus on the negative. Pessimists avoid humiliation and, at the same time, enjoy the possibility of the ultimate reward: being the lone voice for sanity amidst the irrational exuberance of the masses. Stay pessimistic long enough and you may have your “Big Short” moment.
As economic activity plummets, local governments are scrambling to figure out how badly their budgets will suffer this year from a drop in taxable sales. It’s going to be tough, but how tough remains to be seen.
Consumer spending is drying up and no one knows how long it will take before it returns. We don’t know if diners will flood back into restaurants as soon as they have permission. One worry: consumers will use the return to normalcy as a time to restock depleted savings.
On a per-capita basis, each resident of King County had, on average, 36 percent more income to spend in 2018 than in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. Insane housing prices? All those new, expensive bars and restaurants? Bentleys and Teslas? Now you know why.
The rapid hiring by Amazon explains a good deal of the Millennial bulge. At the other end of the age spectrum, few older people migrate to a place like King County, and some older people will migrate out to warmer, quieter, less expensive places.