More condos would mean more affordable housing in Seattle

Last month I wrote about how the building boom in Seattle is heavy on apartments and light on condos, noting that that is partially the result of state law that increases legal and insurance costs for condo developers. Yesterday, the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at UW released a report on condo development in Washington (focusing on Seattle). It details some of these problems.

How Seattle’s minimum wage increase to $11 is affecting workers and businesses

A team at the University of Washington has been studying the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance. In January, the team provided preliminary estimates on the ordinance’s impacts on prices (they suggested “a concentration of price effects in the restaurant industry”).

In scheduling study, more evidence that labor regulations distort the compensation mix

A new study (commissioned by the city of Seattle) looks at how scheduling works in Seattle businesses and considers what regulations might be in order. Opportunity Washington has a good overview of the findings and responses to them.

June employment report shows state lost 500 jobs last month

The state Employment Security Department issued its employment report for June this morning. The preliminary estimate is that seasonally-adjusted employment in Washington fell by 500 from May to June. (Note: this figure is seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted employment estimates show the state gained 18,000 jobs from May to June.)

Offsetting some of this bad news, the estimate of April to May seasonally-adjusted job growth was revised up to 9,000, from the preliminary gain of 8,700 jobs announced in last month's report.

Policy Today podcast: Trade, and trade agreements, are hugely important to Washington's economy

Today's guest is Eric Schinfeld, president of the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT). He joins us to talk about the importance of trade, and international trade agreements, to Washington state. It's an especially timely topic given the newly controversial role trade is playing in the current presidential election: Both major candidates oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known as TPP), a pending trade deal between the United States and 11 other nations.

The interaction of employment policies can be costly and problematic

In combination, employment policies can create “the straw that broke the camel’s back” situations, and their interactions can put them at cross purposes with each other. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recently released a few reports on employment policies that illustrate this.

State Supreme Court will hear arguments in McCleary case on Sept. 7

Today the state Supreme Court ordered the parties in the McCleary school funding case to appear before the Court on Sept. 7.

June 11 – July 10 state revenue collections were $67.4 million greater than had been forecast

This afternoon the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued its monthly Economic and Revenue Update. Here is the key news on revenue:

Washington average wage increases -- so will UI benefits and taxes and workers' comp COLAs

Last week the Employment Security Department (ESD) reported that the state's average annual wage was $56,273 in 2015 (a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year). This has implications for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and taxes and workers' compensation benefits.

Policy Today podcast: How is the Growth Management Act working?

In this episode we discuss our new Special Report on the Growth Management Act (GMA), Washington state's comprehensive land-use law, which was fully enacted 25 years ago. Our report covers the GMA's history and chief components, focuses specifically on how the GMA has worked in two counties, Snohomish and Spokane, and offers recommendations for improving the act.