Recessions often follow a predictable course. The 2001-03 recession, triggered by the dot-com bust and the 9/11 aerospace downturn, is an example...The current downturn is a different animal and not just because of its highly uncertain track.
End of year is a fitting time to sum things up. Economic statistics for 2006 have not been finalized, but so far the numbers look good. The 3.5 percent gain in Puget Sound employment, if it holds up, will be the best showing in eight years.
Typically, it takes more than one thing to lift an economy up or drag it down. In 1997, boosted by strong national growth, a cyclical upturn at Boeing, and the dot-com boom, Puget Sound employment jumped 5.1 percent.
One thing about the bottom of a recession, the prospects are good. After shedding five percent of its employment during the slump, the Puget Sound region finally got things turned around in the middle of 2003.
At the risk of being accused of shirking our duty, we present pretty much the same forecast as last time. In fact, the projected Puget Sound employment growth rates are exactly the same: 5.0 percent in 1997 and 3.5 percent in 1998.