Seattle may be the most successful large metro area in the country in the past decade, but it is also the large metro area where you are most likely to get your stuff stolen. While the Seattle area is not an especially violent place, it is a hotbed of non-violent property crime.
You may have noticed that the deserted streets are starting to fill up again. For better or worse, Americans are getting back on the road, returning to some of the places they had avoided March. Big Data gives us some hints about how fast people are returning to the road.
Seattle’s regional role as a home for African Americans has diminished sharply in the past 30 years. A combination of high housing prices and other social change has led many Black families to settle in suburban areas.
Geographic proximity is not the only driver of the Seattle-California connection. Seattle has long shared common industries with both northern and southern California. Most notably, Los Angeles is a major center of the aerospace industry, so skilled workers will tend to flow back and forth as the fortunes of various West Coast firms change. And the information technology industries of the San Francisco/San Jose corridor complement the IT sector of the Seattle area, with not just workers, but entire business operations migrating back and forth.
In May, the goods producing sectors had bounced back to nearly 92 percent of their February level, as construction sites and factories got back to work. Consumer service began its slow climb out of the depths. Almost all of the job losses in state and local government have been in the education sector.
Total continued claims in the region fell by about 36,000 from the previous week. Throughout the region, continued claims were about 12 percent of the jobs identified by ESD in 2019. This can stand as a very rough proxy for an unemployment rate, and it would be consistent with the reported federal rate of 13 percent from mid-May. People have been returning to work since mid-May, so even with the reporting errors in the federal unemployment data, we are in the ballpark.
The unprecedented growth in the money supply offers both hope and fear. The hope is that once households can start spending again, they will tap into all that money and fire up the economy. The fear is inflation.
The state Department of Revenue released figures on sales tax disbursements to local governments for the months of March. Overall, taxable sales for March 2020, compared to March 2019, were down 25 percent in King County, 21 percent in Pierce County and 24 percent in Snohomish County.
Seattle faces a formidable challenge as it reopens its downtown. Transit services must scale back ridership in order to assure safety of passengers and operators. While many employees of highrises can continue to work from home, service personnel must find a cost effective and safe way to get there.
As people return to their jobs, the manner in which they commute is certain to change. A recent national survey found that “More than 20 percent of respondents who regularly used buses, subways or trains now said they no longer would, and another 28 percent said they will likely use public transportation less often.”