Economy

Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce.

The budget negotiations that led to a frantic New Year's deal on taxes confirmed many lessons about the way Washington works today.

For one thing, many of the most important relationships in the capitol appear to be broken. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner led negotiations on a budget deal for most of the post-election period, but once again they came up empty.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s idled construction industry continued to show signs of life in August. Nonetheless, the state’s jobless rate still rose slightly. Overall Washington lost 1,100 jobs last month. The new unemployment rate announced Wednesday is 8.6 percent -– up a tenth of a percent from July.

Construction was one of the bright spots. That hard-hit sector added nearly 2,000 jobs in August. But chief labor economist Joe Elling says construction is still digging out of a deep hole.

Northwest wildfires not all bad for local economies

Sep 17, 2012

Crews continue to make progress on several wildfires in central Washington. State health officials say the air is smoky enough around Wenatchee to be unhealthy for people with sensitive respiratory systems.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oregon have been looking into the economic impact of large wildfires. Their findings indicated that there can actually be an upside to local economies.

Islamic Pakistan has just one brewery, but it has a rich history.

Bottles of beer have been rolling off Murree Brewery's assembly line since 1860, when the company was founded outside the capital Islamabad — making it Pakistan's oldest private company.

"The brewery was here before Pakistan was here," says CEO Isphanyar Bhandara.

Sitting at his grandfather's desk, he tastes new samples and describes how he ended up running a brewery in a Muslim country, where alcohol is virtually banned.

There have been a few glimmers of hope lately for the U.S. economy, such as a better-than-expected jobs report. But local economist Dick Conway  says there’s even more reason for optimism for the Puget Sound region. 

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The housing market in the Northwest is finally showing signs of recovery. But there’s one sector of real estate that never let up during the economic downturn. Real estate agents who sell what’s known as “survival realty” are experiencing boom times. A remote corner of the Northwest has become a hotspot for home buyers wanting to ride out disaster – natural or otherwise.

Realtor Michael White guides me from room to room in a spacious three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home. Let’s just say it’s somewhere in north Idaho.

A new analysis released today finds that residential segregation by income is rising in United States.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Pew Research Center studied Census figures for the 30 largest metropolitan areas. Director Paul Taylor says economic segregation is up in all but three.

A fierce drought has been scorching crops this summer, but it's still too soon to know exactly how much of a hole it will burn in your wallet.

Sergio Bonachela / Flickr

You know you’re in a first-world economy when … many of your metro areas have larger economies than whole countries.

The Wall Street Journal wanted to put into perspective just how big the gap is between the U.S. economy and much of the rest of the world and so created a ranked list.

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

Brian Talbot / flickr.com

The average annual wage in Washington grew by 3.6% in 2011. 

The state Employment Security Department says wages outpaced inflation by 0.9 percentage points.

The average annual salary in Washington was $49,894 last year, up from $48,162 in 2010.

LWY / Flickr Creative Commons

Non-profit arts groups generated $447.6  million for Seattle’s economy in 2010. That’s over $1 million more than before the economic downturn, according to a recent study by Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy group.

Gas prices nationwide have been dropping but not in the Northwest. In fact, this Memorial Day weekend, the region's gas prices are among the highest in the nation.

Gas in Washington and Oregon is selling above $4.20 per gallon. It's cheaper in Idaho. But all three states are well above the national average of $3.68 per gallon.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s jobless rate continues to inch downward. The April numbers out Wednesday put unemployment at 8.1 percent . That’s down from 8.3 percent in March. Most of April’s job growth was in manufacturing.

State economist Dave Wallace says so far 2012 is proving to be a recovery year in Washington.

The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it's not because of rising demand from consumers.

Since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, the U.S. has struggled to quench a growing appetite for oil and gasoline. Now, that trend is changing.

"When you look at the U.S. oil market, you see that there's actually no growth," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

He says gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and has fallen each year since, even though the economy has begun to recover.

Quick update on income inequality in America.

Emmanuel Saez, an economist who's one of the leading scholars on the subject, just published some new numbers.

Saez tracks income growth since 1993. He compares the top 1 percent of earners to everybody else.

Three things to note in this table:

1. Over the long term, the top 1 percent have seen much larger gains than everyone else.

"After negotiating through the night," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, states attorneys general, federal officials and five major banks have agreed on a plan that will provide about $26 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners who got crushed when the housing bubble burst.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The number of people who are out of work in Washington is falling. It’s a sign the economy is recovering – albeit slowly. But it’s only been in the last two months that the government sector has started hiring again.

Brian Wilson / Flickr

Tacoma’s 31-million-dollar predicted budget shortfall might be even worse than expected.  An outside review done by Herbert Research has found that Tacoma actually faces a 32-million dollar deficit of the current budget. 

But officials from the research firm say that they did not take into account any of the recent actions taken by the city to generate revenue. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A special budget panel lead by Washington Senator Patty Murray remains gridlocked as it nears its deadline next week. Some Northwest lawmakers are urging the so-called “super committee” to exceed its goal of cutting $1.2 trillion from the nation’s debt.

If the “supercommittee” fails to reach a bipartisan solution by next Wednesday, deep spending cuts are slated to fall on nearly all of the federal budget. That puts a lot of pressure on Murrray, a co-chair of the panel.

Michael Nienaltowski / flickr.com

Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson is predicting the technology sector will end the year on a relatively high note. But, as he tells KPLU's Dave Meyer on The Digital Future, he's worried about the first quarter of 2012.

Ryan Dickey / Flickr

Our high school teachers always said that a college education was a sure fire way to ensure financial stability down the road but now there’s mounting evidence that no one is immune to financial disaster.

A new study found college graduates are the fastest growing group of consumers filing for bankruptcy in the nation.  And Washington State is no exception.

Northwest News Network

NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash. – Anti-poverty activists tried to crash a meeting of business leaders at a resort in Central Washington. The action – dubbed “Showdown at Suncadia” – happened today as the state’s chamber of commerce held its annual policy summit.

City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants Congress to put aside partisanship and pass President Obama's $450 billion American Jobs Act.

If passed, it could mean big bucks for the state of Washington; The federal government could fund up to $1.8 billion worth of public works projects that it says, would create jobs and improve infrastructure.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

VANCOUVER, Wash. — It can be hard to find a job these days – especially with a felony conviction on your record.

That's the position offenders in the Clark County work release program have found themselves in. The inmates, who are serving the last few months of their sentence, are tasked with finding work to help them build up savings and gain work experience to help them reenter society.

A Northwest brand is finding women's apparel and jewelry a tough sell in the current economy. Idaho-based Coldwater Creek has announced it will close dozens of stores in the face of a 28 percent drop in sales.

s_falkow / Flickr

Is the economy recovering … or heading for another recession? Uncertainty has been growing in recent weeks with conflicting economic indicators and high volatility on Wall Street.

On this week’s "Money Matters" with financial commentator Greg Heberlein and KPLU’s Dave Meyer, Greg changes his mind about how soon the economy will recover. Instead of a 5 to 10 year recovery, Greg thinks it'll be more like 10 to 15 years.

Brent Moore / Flickr

We are working on a story about the REAL impact of the ongoing economic woes. We want to know, what one thing has been affected most in your life by the turbulent economy?

Come to our Facebook page to join the conversation and tell us your story. Here’s a few of the responses so far:

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Are more people hunting and fishing for food during these tough economic times? Possibly. However, the recent upturn in the number of people buying a hunting and fishing license is probably due to unemployed construction workers with more time on their hands, one department official said.

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