economic recovery

Washington state hit a soft patch in hiring and saw slow overall growth, according to two new data points released Wednesday.

Washington state's unemployment rate essentially held steady at 7 percent from August through October. Federal government furloughs delayed the release of the data last month, which resulted in the release of two sets this month.

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Last summer, financial commentator Greg Heberlein became more pessimistic about the economic recovery, predicting it would take 10 to 15 years to get back to "normal".

Now that a year has gone by, has anything changed?

Sadly, Greg says we have another 9 to 14 years left to go.

Greg and KPLU's Dave Meyer look at the prospects for a slow recovery on this week's Money Matters.

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"It is a sunny day, with some clouds," says Dick Conway, a Puget Sound Economic Forecaster. "The more I study the Puget Sound economy, the more I am struck by the fact that the more it changes, the more it stays the same."

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington added more than 12,000 jobs in November. That drops the state unemployment rate to 8.7 percent.

In fact, employment statistics released Wednesday show that job growth has reached a four-year high in Washington.

U.S. Census Bureau

New numbers show the gap between the rich and poor has grown across the nation. But income inequality in the Northwest is lower than the national level. That's according to an analysis released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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The latest polling of Washington voters shows that optimism has taken “nose dive” to an all-time low.

Voters surveyed in The Elway Poll – an independent, nonpartisan analysis of public opinion – were less likely to think things were “getting better” than at any time since the survey began in 1991.

The architect of the survey, Stuart Elway, said people may be openly entertaining the idea that America has entered a “malaise” or “a new normal” of long-term high unemployment, weak spending and, simply, a plain old bummer of an economy like the one Japan suffered for more than a decade.

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On Tuesday when we started the conversation on our Facebook page about the real impact of the bad economy, the DOW was back on the mend and the fallout from S&P downgrades seemed to be moderate. In that calm before the storm, however, we still felt that the blows to the economy are adding up and causing real people real headaches.

Boy is it, and according to one expert the kind of economic recession we have had will take years to pull out of.

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Economists say the recession ended in June, 2009, but for many of us, it’s hard to tell the difference. Unemployment remains high and the economy is growing slowly.

This month on "The Digital Future," Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson and KPLU’s Dave Meyer look at the bright spot of the economy:  the technology sector.

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Seattle and the Puget Sound area seem to be popping up on those "top ten" and "best places to..." lists with increasing regularity.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Washington's jobless rate is down to 9.1 percent after the state added an estimated 5,800 jobs in April.