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  • The Department of Education announced in early August that it will extend a freeze on federal student loan payments until January. A statement from the department says the “final extension” of the pause with a definitive end date of Jan. 31, 2022, will give borrowers time to plan resuming payments. “The payment pause has been a lifeline that allowed millions of Americans to focus on their families, health, and finances instead of student loans during the national emergency,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment.”
  • Seattle was among 14 American cities that grew by at least 100,000 people over the last decade, according to new census data, as the country’s population growth was fueled by diversifying populations in major urban areas, while largely declining in rural areas. By one measure, Washington was growing more diverse, more quickly, than any other state in the country. King County gained more than 338,000 people over the last 10 years, with a total population of 2,269,675. Only four other counties saw population increases of more than 300,000 people. That growth was highlighted by diversity – the non-Hispanic white share of the population in King County dropped more than 10 percentage points since 2010, while the Asian share of the population increased by more than 5 percentage points. Both the Black and Hispanic shares of the population grew by a bit more than 1 percentage point. The Seattle metropolitan area, which includes all of Pierce, King and Snohomish counties, was the 15th largest in the nation, with a total population of 4,018,762. Kent, in South King County, was one of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country, according to census data released in August. Part of Kent’s population gain is due to the annexation of the Panther Lake area, which the city officially took over on July 1, 2010. Other than Seattle, cities that gained more than 100,000 people were: Denver, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, New York City, Jacksonville, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Columbus, Ohio. In Washington, only tiny Ferry and Columbia counties, with populations under 10,000, lost people, while every other county gained population or held steady. King County grew by 17.5%, Snohomish by 16.1% and Pierce by 15.8%.
  • The average cost of owning a new vehicle is about $9,600 a year, or $805 a month, according to new study by AAA. And this may surprise you: Depreciation is driving this drain on your wallet. AAA says deprecation accounts for 40% of all the expenses association with owning a car. That’s well ahead of fuel and insurance costs.
    The average price of a new vehicle is now $32,900, AAA found. That’s an increase of $1,500 or nearly 5 percent from last year. And that price is likely to continue climbing as manufacturers drop lower-end models because of the chip shortage. Higher-end vehicles tend to come with more technology, which drives up the cost.
  • According to a new report, a big chunk of income earned by King County residents doesn’t come directly from their labor – it comes from their assets. On a per capita basis, income generated from assets penciled out to the tune of $24,100 here in 2019. Among the 100 largest U.S. counties, that ranks as the eighth highest. King County’s asset income is more than double the national average, which was $11,400 per capita. Asset income comes from three sources: stock dividends, which are cash payments to shareholders; interest, which includes payouts from money deposited in a bank, invested in government bonds or loaned in some other way; and rental income from investment properties (excluding the income of people primarily engaged in the real estate business). Among the 10 large counties with the highest per capita asset incomes, three are in the San Francisco Bay Area and three are in the New York City area. New York County (Manhattan) is in a league of its own among large counties, at $64,200 per capita. Remarkably, the large county with the second-lowest asset income – $4,800 per capita – is in the same city: the Bronx (each of New York City’s five boroughs are also U.S. counties). The lowest asset income among the 100 largest U.S. counties is $3,200 per capita, in Hidalgo County, Texas. According to the report, King County is one of the few places in the U.S. (along with Manhattan and San Francisco) where incomes both from earnings and assets are extremely high. Some places with very high earnings, like Washington, D.C., have lower asset incomes than you might expect. And other places with very high asset incomes, like Palm Beach County, Florida, do not have very high earnings. The report comes from the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank whose mission is to help forge more dynamic, entrepreneurial and inclusive economy across the U.S. Researchers analyzed personal-income tables published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which are based on IRS data, for this report.

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