Insightful Observations

Economic forecasts,
for the greater Seattle area.

Consider us your research center, providing you answers in easy to understand language and charts.

Established in 1993, The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster is a quarterly report published by the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University which acquired the publication in 2017 from its founders, Conway Pedersen Economics, Inc.

The report and website are designed for business executives, marketing directors, investors, government managers, and researchers who need a professional and objective view on the economic prospects for the Puget Sound region (King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County).

Our goal is to provide accurate and well-reasoned forecasts for the region as well as clear and insightful observations on important developments in the economy.

In-Depth Regional Economic Outlook

The first issue of the
Puget Sound Economic Forecaster,
a quarterly report,
was published in December 1993.

Each report contains a summary forecast, in-depth discussion of the regional outlook, forecasts and analyses of retail sales and construction and real estate, a special topic (e.g., China and Population Change), a detailed forecast table, and the Puget Sound Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

To facilitate research and analysis on the regional economy, every issue of the regional economic report is archived as a downloadable PDF file in the Subscriber Area. A comprehensive Subject Index of the archived reports has been developed to aid in the retrieval of information.

Reports are posted to the web site one to two weeks before the printed copy is mailed.

Sample Report – Data, Trade and Trends [Volume 27, Number 2, June 2019]

With thoughts of the long warm days of summer on our minds, we have found ourselves interrupted pondering about the price of avocados and how the latest round of tariff threats that may impact retail sales and the general economy overall. Thoughts of spending time at the lake or river have found us considering stream flows and how the change in our climate may impact all of the people and businesses that rely on water in one way or another. Daydreams of patio and deck BBQs have caused us to reflect on changes in house prices and the sudden growth in sales outside of the King County – is it more commuters or are jobs moving? Will the Seattle to Everett corridor retain its worst traffic in the nation ranking? Evidently, economists are bad at not thinking about things. All of the above is ahead in this edition of the Forecaster plus a better understanding of workforce participation and the state forecast. We will just call it the beach edition.

Additional Features

In addition to the Quarterly Report,
we regularly publish
Additional Feature Reports

Breaking News

What We Are Following in the News

At a time when Americans joke about how bad they are at math, and already abysmal scores on standardized math tests are falling even further, employers and others say the nation needs people who are good at math in the same way motion picture mortals need superheroes. They say America’s poor math performance isn’t funny anymore. It’s a threat to the nation’s global economic competitiveness and national security. ... See MoreSee Less
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Americans outside the wealthiest 20% of the country have run out of extra savings and now have less cash on hand than they did when the pandemic began, according to the latest Federal Reserve study of household finances.For the bottom 80% of households by income, bank deposits and other liquid assets were lower in June this year than they were in March 2020, after adjustment for inflation. ... See MoreSee Less
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Third-Quarter GDP Growth Estimate Unchanged. On September 19, the GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth in the third quarter of 2023 is 4.9 percent, unchanged from September 14 after rounding. ... See MoreSee Less
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Work experts have warned for years that the combination of baby-boomer retirements, low birthrates, the lack of coherent immigration policies and changing worker preferences is leaving U.S. employers with too few workers to fill job openings. None of those factors are expected to change dramatically in the coming years. ... See MoreSee Less
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The U.S. economy’s prospects of a soft landing are getting a boost from an unexpected source: a historic rise in immigration. The inflow of foreign-born workers, which had slowed to a trickle in the years up to and including the pandemic, is now rising briskly as the U.S. catches up on a backlog of visa applications and the Biden administration accelerates work permits. That is helping ease labor shortages and wage and price pressure. ... See MoreSee Less
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We often will share charts with sales to inventory ratios rather than volume for retail sales. It helps explain the relationship better than simply sales are up or inventory is up. When you shop you like options and this chart shows the depth of choice for autos. ... See MoreSee Less
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Questions? We Love Questions!

We receive a wide-range of questions every day and would love to hear yours.  Questions lead to data and data should lead to better questions.

Special Topics

Special topics in each report
intended to increase the
reader’s understanding of
how the Puget Sound economy works

Past topics include regional growth, labor productivity, demographic trends, inflation, multipliers, entrepreneurs, and state and local taxes.

Web site subscribers currently have access to more than fifty special topics. Here are four examples drawn from the Special Topic Archive:

Stream Flow [Volume 27, Number 2, June 2019]

Is Traffic Real? [Volume 27, Number 1, March 2019]

Labor Force and Population [Volume 26, Number 4, December 2018]

Forest Fires [Volume 26, Number 3, September 2018]

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