WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Economic Forecast 2011: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

From technology to real estate, local watchers see the signs of the recovery.
|   January 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

Governor Gregoire sees jobs and recovery in 2011

Putting Washingtonians back to work is my top priority. Trade will lead the way and small businesses will create jobs. We’re strong in agriculture (it contributes 12 percent to Washington’s economy), aerospace (650 companies) and technology (half our jobs are tech related). We are emerging in clean tech (400 companies) and life sciences (recession notwithstanding, life sciences has grown by 5 percent).

Washington is the nation’s most trade-dependent state—affecting one in three jobs. Last fall’s trade mission to Asia was our largest ever. I’ve set a goal to increase exports by 30 percent over the next five years. To help businesses develop export strategies, we’ve provided $3 million in grants. To boost success for small businesses, we’re reducing state-imposed costs and streamlining licensing.

Moving forward, we must support a vibrant education system that will create tomorrow’s skilled workforce.

A Weak Dollar is a Bad Sign • Michael Parks, Editor Emeritus, Marple's Pacific Northwest Letter

The indicators I will watch most closely to assay regional prospects: interest rates, the dollar’s value and the health of relations between the United States and China. The Great Disappointment—where we are economically as this is written—will not morph into sustainable recovery as long as short-term rates are 0 percent. We love a weak dollar in the Pacific Northwest, music to exporters’ ears. But a 97-pound weakling greenback signifies national economic malaise. No thanks. Trade war between China and America, the two poles of the globe’s most important trade relationship, would amount to an economic disaster.

Good News in Aerospace • Scott Hamilton, Founder, Leeham Co. LLC, Sammamish

In the second quarter of 2011, Boeing should finally begin delivery of the 787. Delivery of the first 747-8 is expected by analysts to be in the third quarter. If deliveries begin for both aircraft, it represents the beginning of the end of a long corporate nightmare of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns and customer penalties. In the meantime, Boeing is gearing up for increasing production of the 737 and 777 lines; and the KC-X Air Force aerial tanker contract, originally expected to be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2010, likely will be in the first quarter of 2011. Boeing, of course, hopes to win this with the KC-767. Once