Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor

Economy and business news

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Budget writers in Olympia are breathing a sigh of relief. Despite the federal sequester and other risks to the economy, the state’s new revenue forecast out Wednesday is mostly flat. Even so, Washington lawmakers still face a $1 billion-plus shortfall and a court-ordered down payment for public schools.

In advance of this March forecast, the scuttlebutt in the Washington state Capitol was revenues might take a significant hit. The source of the anxiety: lower personal income, lower U.S. GDP and concerns about the federal sequester.

Washington Jobs Return To Expected Numbers In February

Mar 20, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state saw a surge of new jobs in January, but job growth was sluggish in February. New numbers out Wednesday from the State Employment Department show a gain of 4,000 jobs, mostly in education, healthcare and manufacturing.

Labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman says last month’s job trends brought few surprises.

“Pushing January out of the picture and just focusing in on what we’re seeing with the month change here as well as the year over year change, this month was really looking like what we would expect the data to look like.”

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

Washington Senate Approves Limiting Sick Leave

Mar 12, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Senate moved Monday to limit the reach of Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law. In 2011, the city council voted to require all companies that do business in Seattle to offer paid sick leave. But in Olympia, the state Senate approved a measure to limit the benefit only to those companies and workers based almost all the time within the city limits.

State Sen. David Frockt from Seattle complained the bill is an attack on local control.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state of Washington recorded unusually strong job gains in January. That's according to new numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Department. A regular survey of businesses found more than 24,000 new jobs created.

The state's chief labor economist, Joe Elling, says there's evidence of gathering "momentum" in the economy. But the January job gains are so strong, he doesn't quite believe them.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

A union lock out at a big grain export terminal brought all ship loading and unloading to a halt at the Port of Vancouver, Washington Wednesday. It's one of several developments in a long-running labor dispute involving longshore workers and grain handlers.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A bill before an agriculture committee in the Idaho legislature aims to keep shepherds from abandoning their flocks. The state's wool industry still relies on old-fashioned sheep herders but some are leaving those positions for better jobs. Now, the bill has hit a nerve with immigrant rights groups.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

There are several new developments Wednesday in a long-running labor dispute between unionized longshoremen and Northwest grain terminal operators. One grain exporter announced it reached a contract agreement, while another locked out its union workers after discovering what it called sabotage.

Picket lines sprung up almost immediately in front of the United Grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Washington. This, after the terminal operator notified the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 of a lock out.

Early Economic Recovery Leaves Rural Idaho Behind

Feb 25, 2013

New numbers out Monday show Idaho's rural areas experienced the post-recession years very differently from the state's cities. While places like Boise and Pocatello were on the mend, economic output in rural communities in Idaho declined.

At first glance, Idaho's rural counties appeared to be making an economic recovery with the rest of the state. But Idaho’s Department of Labor says when you take inflation into account, the output of goods and services from rural Idaho actually declined by $90 million in 2011.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of how much money they'll have to put together a budget. State forecasters Friday announced their latest revenue projections.

The bottom line: Things keep getting better. But not by much. State economist Mark McMullen told a legislative panel that corporate and personal income tax projections continue to rise. But he says the rate of increase isn't as strong as previous economic recoveries.

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