Business

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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Coffee Culture
10:38 am
Fri March 25, 2011

Still no IPO, but another new CEO for Seattle's second largest coffee enterprise

Tully's Coffee prides itself on providing the feel of "a family room - not a living room" says a spokesman about Starbucks biggest rival's approach to coffeehouse culture.
Flickr photo courtesy dontthink.feel

Tully's Coffee has lost yet another CEO. Seattle's second biggest coffee enterprise has announced that Carl Pennington will retire at the end of this month. 

According to the Seattle Times, he is the seventh CEO to cycle through the company since founder Tom O'Keefe stepped down from the post a decade ago. 

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Seafood Business
6:59 am
Fri March 25, 2011

Eco-label pays quick dividend for Dungeness crab fishers

Crab pots on the docks at Newport, Oregon
Tom Banse N3

To consumers, the welter of eco-labels on various food products can be nebulous or confusing. But the first crab fishery on the West Coast to get a green friendly label says it is seeing a really quick payoff.

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Coffee Culture
5:39 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

Stock price surges as Starbucks annual meeting presents another starstruck affair

Starbucks baristas who the company calls "partners" dole out coffee and memoires at the 2011 Annual Meeting, outside Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU

Starbucks stocks have surged. That's thanks in part to the German financial company Deutsche Bank, which has resumed its coverage of the Seattle coffee giant and is saying investors should buy the stock. 

It's just one sign of confidence in the rebound of the company, as its executives outlined its latest growth strategies.

An annual love affair with coffee and other addictive treats

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