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Friday, October 30, 2020

After Trump-Solving: Seattle Needs Problem Solving

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The situation calls for local politicians to walk (fight Covid's spread) and chew gum (salvage the local economy) at the same time.

Is Seattle’s Brand Damaged?

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One possible idea for Bellevue business leaders would be that all marketing materials should include a reference to "Seattle's premier side, the Eastside."

How Bill Gates Sr. Told a Local ‘Titan’ to Back Off Starbucks

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Howard Schultz put together a group to buy Starbucks in 1987, only to find there was a rival purchaser, who is said to have made an offer of $4 million, no due diligence, and is only referred to as "the titan."

As Offices Leave Downtown Seattle, Where Will They Head?

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A factor in the exodus from downtown is the move not just to the Eastside but to urban neighborhoods in Seattle, such as the new restaurant row on Beacon Hill. Restaurants and retail are rediscovering neighborhoods, where cars can find parking and a stable customer base can be tapped.

Software is Eating Washington’s Economy

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Software and internet industries pay 11 percent of all wages paid in the state. This is larger than all private sector industries and second only to the total of government wages. Software may not be eating the jobs numbers, but it is rapidly eating the income numbers.

Memo: The Iconic Baby & Co Is Closing Its Downtown Store After 44 Years

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The "bitter" piece of this news was coming to terms with the fact that the once-thriving and dynamic neighborhood stopped feeling safe. City officials and landlords gave up trying to reclaim Seattle's original luster.

Amazon’s Real HQ2 2: Threat or Opportunity?

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So, apparently, no more expansion in Seattle, no more dabbling in trying to shift the politics of the city. See ya!

One More Thing To Worry About: Boeing Jobs to South Carolina?

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It was always thought that the 787 might end up at one plant, the one in lower-labor-cost South Carolina. And it was always thought that the next generation of planes would be engineered and built at the Payne Field facility, the largest building in the world. But now?

Seattle’s Slumping Economy And Our Slumping Response

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Seattle, as when Boeing was riding high, puts off economic planning to let the good times roll. Compounding the complacency syndrome is the expectation that all will be well, once a vaccine arrives and some of the fluff in our local economy is combed out.

Their Business Upended By COVID, These Vietnamese Restaurants Stepped In To Donate

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Even when they reopen, restaurants have to downsize the limits on how many customers they serve. Some restaurants have turned that excess capacity to cooking for healthcare workers.

Retail Rebound: What’s Selling, What’s Not in the New Economy

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Given the shutdown of the economy, you might expect that retail sales would be significantly down from the first half of 2020. They're not.

The Economy’s Nike Swoosh Recovery

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We see sharp drops in all activities and a comparatively large drop in employment. Things bottom out late March to mid-April and begin a steady climb back toward their March 1 level.

Warning For Downtown: Tom Douglas Quits Two High-Rent Restaurants

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Douglas and many others bet heavily on tourism, Amazon, and our high-rent downtown. All are now in serious hot water.

Fantasies: The Purpose of Crowded Starbucks Stores

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I once asked one of the original founders of the coffee company how it could be economical to have so many folks occupying tables for hours while spending a pittance on a cup of coffee-flavored milk drinks.

Unemployment shot up but Savings… have Soared?

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At the risk of being repetitive, it was a pretty strange month. Nationally, employment fell by about 15 percent. But total disposable personal income in the country rose by 13 percent

Set to Soar: This Week in Space

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We are all rooting for the success of the launch -- if anything mobilizes the national spirit, it’s a rocket on its way to space.

How Convention Centers Devour Their Cities

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"What troubled me about the whole convention center business/financial model was its self-feeding locomotion. Once a city begins to compete in the big leagues (not unlike sports) it has to buy into a whole multi-decade commitment. And the bar keeps getting raised."

A Suddenly-Endangered Convention Center Project: Time to Rethink Seattle Tourism?

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How we can tame this beast, and (if it comes to this) what might be a better use of the convention center 3, now one-third built and facing a serious financing problem?

The Growing Case For Taxing Automation That Costs Jobs

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Replacing human labor with machines can have a positive impact if it frees up people to use their human empathy and understanding to help the many who need help to survive and enjoy life. However, the money to allow them to assist the larger community needs to come “from the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there; some can come directly in some kind of robot tax.”

You’re Unemployed and You’re Unemployed and You’re Employed… Here’s how it Breaks Down

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Quietly, tens of thousands of office workers, salespeople and their managers have been let go. A restaurant or construction supply company can't do much business with all the restaurants and sites shut down. We look at unemployment claims by occupation.

What Seattle Got Right: The New Establishment Shows Its Stuff

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It was a moment of emergence for the the region, though it may not have momentum. I count at least four areas where these new leaders have impressively stepped up, often leading the nation in pandemic responses.

Out of Range: Could Lockdown finally help solve Rural Broadband Access?

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“Drive in WiFi” is the stopgap solution of the day: using the powerful fiber connections at shuttered schools, libraries, and other agencies and business to provide the WiFi equivalent to the old drive-in movies, with signals directed out to open parking areas. The state is scrambling to provide WiFi service to the 200,000 Washington residents who live beyond connectivity.

It Won’t Be Your Grandfather’s Boeing Bust

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The inevitable Boeing reductions will hurt the regional economy, but not nearly as much as past Boeing job cuts. Boeing is still the region’s biggest employer, but accounts for a gradually diminishing share of all jobs.

Data On Local Unemployment: Dip Before Deluge?

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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.

Let’s Insure Employment, not Unemployment

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Changing "unemployment" insurance to employment insurance, paying to keep workers on the job can soften the impact of the coming recession.

Coronavirus Chronicles: Unexpected Shortages of Sudden Needs

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Just try to buy a solid looking buzz clipper. Sold-out, sold-out, sold-out. Now I did find one for way too much money, and it won’t arrive for a while. I will be cautious about Zoom meetings.

Understanding the Macroeconomic Impacts of the Coming COVID Depression

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Lyn Alden Schwartzer provides the clearest explanation I've seen of how the current situation differs from previous economic shocks like the Great Depression and the Great Recession.

Indexer: Sea-Tac is Bigger Than You Think, and More At Risk

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By passenger volume, Sea-Tac is now the eighth busiest airport in the country, serving a metro area that is the fifteenth largest. A prolonged virus shutdown will damage a regional economic engine.

Indexer: As Local Sales Taxes Bust, Here’s Who Gets Hit Most

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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.

After The Virus: The Seattle Economy Will Need a Massive Reboot

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All told, over 650,000 King County residents will see their positions reduced or temporarily wiped out. And the majority of those workers earned between $15 to $25 per hour, meaning they are especially vulnerable to work stoppages.