Good news, bad news

Aug 27, 2008 at 12:00 am

A brief article in the Seattle Times provided a glimmer of silver lining behind the economic black cloud hanging over southeast Michigan: Low inflation.

It's a different story in the birthplace of Starbucks and grunge.

"A reasonably healthy local economy has its benefits, but there's also a cost. A rising cost, in fact," reported the Times. "In June, Seattle's 5.8 percent inflation rate was the highest among 10 major metro areas, according to the number-crunchers at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)."

In the Detroit area, the situation is reversed. The economy is anything but healthy, but at least prices overall are increasing at a relatively slow rate. Here's how the jokesters in Seattle described the situation: "Want relief? Inflation in Detroit was just 3.0 percent in June, lowest among the BLS' 10 cities. The trade-off, of course, is that you're in Detroit."

Ha, ha and ha.

But here's a BLS stat no one's laughing about: Over the past year, in what is officially known as the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area, 34,800 jobs have been lost. That represents a decline of 1.7 percent; nationwide the rate of job loss has been just .1 percent during the same 12-month period ending in June. In other words, the situation around here is 17 times worse than it is for the country as a whole.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]