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Forecast for the Puget Sound regional economy: Pretty sunny

Ashley Gross

The national economy will continue to climb out of the recession this year, and the Puget Sound region is forecast to do even better. That’s the word from an economic forecast conference in Seattle. 

This was how Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein opened his remarks – to applause, laughter and probably some relief from the crowd.

"I mean, when’s the last time I was here and I had something good to tell you? I’m telling you today 2013 is going to be a better year than 2012," Goldstein said.

Goldstein says booming energy production and a recovery in the housing market are a couple of reasons for his optimism about the U.S. economy.

Locally, economist Dick Conway says the Puget Sound regional economy will likely grow at a faster pace than the nation as a whole over the next decade. One reason? World class companies based here – or in the case of a certain airplane maker – with major facilities here. Conway listed them.

"Boeing, Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, Russell, Amazon, Costco, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, REI, Expedia, PACCAR, Alaska Airlines, Expeditors International and Group Health Cooperative," Conway said.

He says we’re also benefiting from population growth, a well-educated workforce, international trade and amenities – both natural and cultural like the zoo and the opera that attract people here, and make them base companies here.

Conway expects the Puget Sound region’s rate of job growth to outpace the nation’s by half a percentage point over the next decade. So for all of you with kids graduating college in 2021, maybe they’ll be able to find jobs close to home. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.