FRONTLINE: a hidden life: spokane: a view of their city | PBS

This is from 4 years ago but is interesting: FRONTLINE: a hidden life: spokane: a view of their city | PBS.

Its a look at Spokane in the context of the newspaper running the late Mayor Jim West out of town.


Spokane commercial real estate vacancies take a turn for the worse

Retail and Office real estate vacancy rates move higher while Industrial vacancy category drops slightly.


As always, firms use different ways of estimating vacancy rates and one estimate will not be the same as that provided by another firm. Regardless of the source of estimates, the key is to look at the relative magnitude and the trend over time. My gut feel is that Spokane’s economy hits bottom in 2011 and then drags along the bottom for some period of time.

The increasing vacancy rates are inconsistent with the State’s report of a declining unemployment rate in Spokane. We know that population is increasing, total employment has been nearly flat for a decade, and commercial vacancy rates have continued to rise. If commercial vacancies go up, there are necessarily fewer jobs. The official unemployment rate of 8.2% is inconsistent with the other data.

“Two separate realities” for Spokane?

The following is from a political story about California politics. But this quote stood out as similar to what I see happening in Spokane:

The result is two separate California realities: a lucrative one for the wealthy and for government workers, who are largely insulated from economic decline; and a grim one for the private-sector middle and working classes, who are fleeing the state.

via The Golden State’s War on Itself by Joel Kotkin, City Journal Summer 2010.

In Spokane, it is the government and the health care class that has come to dominate.

Another interesting quote suggests Spokane could end up looking like California:

Read more of this post