Business

Apartment Market
4:20 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Race to build apartments could be good for renters and construction workers

Developers broke ground on the Alto Apartments in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood in November 2010. It's part of a rush to build more rental units in the city.
Charla Bear KPLU

Some industries are slowly creating jobs again, but construction isn’t really one of them. The state lost about 2,400 construction jobs just last month, according to state employment economists. But in Seattle, hope could be on the horizon.

The clanking and pounding sounds of construction are starting to return to the city. Some builders who work on high-rise projects have been able to dust off their nail guns, thanks to a growing demand for apartments.

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Rising fuel costs
2:59 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

Local business hurt by gas prices seek help from Congress

Doug McClure, owner of Zeeks Pizza, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and Warren Aakervik, owner of Ballard Oil, at a news conference April 18, 2011.
Paula Wissel/KPLU

U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell say Wall Street speculation in the oil and gas market is directly affecting small business in Washington. 

At a news conference held at Local Roots Organic in Seattle they were joined by several business owners who said high gas prices are taking a toll on their bottom line.

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Real Estate Law
7:05 am
Mon April 18, 2011

Appraisers upset as big banks drag feet on new regulations

Bad appraisals contributed to problems that led to the wave of foreclosures that has swept the nation. But regulations meant to fix them aren't working, according to many in the industry. They're demanding more intervention by the feds.
File photo

Despite the massive fraud that has emerged as the U.S. tries to dig itself out of the foreclosure mess at the heart of the great recession, there are still huge numbers of honest folks working in the real estate business. 

That's according to professional appraisers in Washington state, dozens of whom have signed an on-line petition. 

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Real Estate
9:35 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Relief for strapped borrowers: "Foreclosure Fairness" is now law

Emergency measures in a new law go into effect immediately, creating the infrastructure needed to get more housing counselors working with banks and preventing people from losing their homes.

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News Business
3:50 pm
Tue April 12, 2011

Reporters stop tweeting

AP reporters and photographers rallied outside their Seattle offices to call attention to contract negotiations with the company.
Paula Wissel

The Associated Press reporters and photographers around the country weren't tweeting or uploading their stories to Facebook today.  They also refrained from using their personal cell phones or cars for business.

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Economic Indicators
4:37 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

March sales at Costco, Nordstrom bode well for large retail

A happy shopper at a pre-Opening event in March of a new Nordstrom's Rack, part of the upscale retailer's expansion strategy in the down economy.
Flickr, @photo

A surprisingly solid March – that's the consensus about last month's retail sales.  Despite cold weather and climbing gas prices, shoppers spent a lot more money last month than they did in March a year ago.

Costco and Nordstrom are among the local companies that are benefiting.

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Airplane Safety
4:57 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

FAA orders emergency inspection of some 737's

A Southwest Airlines plane sits in a remote area of the Yuma International Airport, after the plane had a section of fuselage tear from the plane during a flight on Friday, seen here Mon., April 4, 2011, in Yuma, Ariz.
AP

Federal officials have issued an emergency order requiring inspections of Boeing planes with similar construction to the Southwest Airlines plane that had a 5-foot tear that led to an emergency landing last week.

The Federal Aviation Administration order Tuesday applies to Boeing 737-300s, 400s and 500s that have a similarly constructed joint where pieces of the plane's skin meet. The joint is at about the midpoint of the passenger cabin.

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Northwest Economy
10:11 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Earthquake rebuilding likely to benefit existing timber exporters

It's likely the big timber exporters, rather than small family-owned forest product businesses like this one in Centralia, that may benefit the most from anticipated timber exports to Japan for rebuilding after the quake.
Ted S. Warren AP

When disaster response in Japan turns to rebuilding, Northwest timber companies and sawmills should see an increase in exports. But an industry consultant says the slow pace of disaster recovery means those new orders may not come for months. 

Stock prices for some North American timber companies spiked in the immediate aftermath of the Japan disaster. Wall Street anticipates a surge in Japanese demand for logs, lumber and plywood to rebuild homes.

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Airline Safety
8:01 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Boeing helps with Southwest Airlines investigation

A Southwest Airlines jet, a Boeing 737-300, takes off from the Tampa, Fla., airport in January. The plane is coming under scrutiny after a section of a Southwest Airlines jet ripped open during a flight in the skies of Arizona last week.
AP

Boeing says it’s providing technical assistance to federal aviation regulators and to Southwest Airlines in the wake of Friday’s mid-flight incident where a hole appeared in the skin of a 737 airliner at 34,000 feet.

The Seattle Times reports that the sudden rupture has experts concerned because the stress-related failure of the aircraft’s aluminum skin occurred mid-fuselage. That's a place that was not previously thought to be vulnerable to that kind of damage. 

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Northwest Economy
2:01 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Booming demand from China for Northwest logs & lumber

A logging truck passes the Weyerhaeuser Pulp Mill on Friday Oct. 21, 2005, in Cosmopolis, in Grays Harbor County.
Jim Bryant AP

There’s good news and bad news for logging and saw-milling jobs in the Northwest. The bad news is new figures out show construction spending dropped in February to the lowest level in more than a decade. The good news is that timber demand from China is soaring.

Russia has traditionally been China’s main wood supplier. An export tax by the Russians combined with the expanding Chinese economy has created an opening for exporters on the West Coast.

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Aerospace competition
9:24 am
Thu March 31, 2011

WTO rules Boeing received illegal government subsidies

Airplane manufacturing at Boeing's Everett plant, in 2010.
AP

The World Trade Organization has ruled that some U.S. government aid to aircraft maker Boeing Co. is illegal. 

The WTO's report details findings first issued in private to the EU and U.S. in January. It says the EU has demonstrated the U.S. gave Boeing "export subsidies that are prohibited" and recommends the U.S. either withdraw them or "take steps to remove the adverse affects." 

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Economics and recovery
2:15 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Housing prices falling around the nation, including the Seattle area

A sign advertises a new price on a home for sale in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009.
Ted S. Warren AP

A "...boatload of loans, sitting in foreclosure," or on the verge of being taken back by the banks. Those are the words of one economist, talking about what's happening in the real estate markets of major cities, nation-wide. The greater Seattle area is no exception.

The numbers come from the Case-Schiller index and they're not pretty.

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Business & Finance
6:03 am
Tue March 29, 2011

Retailer Harry & David file "pre-arranged" bankruptcy but stays open

Harry & David headquarters in Medford, Oregon.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Gourmet food company Harry & David hopes to make a quick trip through bankruptcy reorganization. The legendary Northwest retailer filed a “pre-arranged restructuring” plan with a Delaware court.

The struggling retailer will use the bankruptcy process to shed its heavy debt load and repair its balance sheet. The century-old Medford, Oregon icon filed papers saying the majority of its bond holders have agreed to swap their debt for equity in a restructured company.

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Transportation Policy
11:30 am
Mon March 28, 2011

Restaurateur Tom Douglas vs. Mayor Mike McGinn on changes to Seattle parking rates

Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas says changes in transportation policy are making it hard for him and others in the business community to know what to expect.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Seattle's downtown restaurant owners are still grumbling about rate hikes for metered street parking.

The city's new scheme has been in place for a little over a month. But the controversy hasn't gone away. One of the city's most famous restaurant owners is going public with his concerns.

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Video Games
9:06 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

Nintendo 3DS launch could be good for local headquarters

Analysts expect the new Nintendo 3DS to help the company rebound to highs of a couple of years ago.
Jon Jordan Flickr image

Nintendo’s handheld 3D game player hits shelves this weekend. Analysts expect it to mean big things for the company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Redmond.

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