Economy

Value of agricultural production in Washington down slightly in 2016

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, agricultural production in Washington in 2016 had a total value of $10.630 billion (down from $10.719 billion in 2015). The top ten commodities by value were apples, milk, potatoes, cattle and calves, wheat, cherries, hay, hops, grapes, and pears. Together, their value accounted for 71.7 percent of the value of all agricultural production in the state.

Policy Today podcast: Dr. Rick Evans on how computer science can improve economics

In this episode we're joined by Dr. Rick Evans of the University of Chicago, an expert on open source macroeconomics, which aims to use the power of computational modeling to enhance economic research and public policy analysis. It's a fascinating discussion on a groundbreaking new field.

To learn more about Dr. Evans, visit his website here.

Policy Today podcast: Seattle's surprisingly robust manufacturing industry

Today we're talking with the Manufacturing Industrial Council's Executive Director, Dave Gering, about the manufacturing industry - and manufacturing jobs - in Seattle. Dave talks about the 106,000 industrial jobs in the city, and what the industry is doing to educate students with the skills they need to find employment. With many open positions and employers having to import skilled workers from out of state, there are plenty of job opportunities in this robust sector of the local economy.

Seattle Tops Nation in Home Price Increases

Barron's reported yesterday that Seattle currently leads the nation in home price increases. According to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices,

New Special Report on Manufacturing Jobs (Part I)

We're out today with Part One of a series of special reports on manufacturing jobs in Washington state. "Rebalancing Priorities: The Case for Manufacturing Jobs, Part I" covers the role of manufacturing in Washington's economy, and discusses Gov. Jay Inslee's recent veto of a tax reduction for state manufacturing.

Red tape, delays contribute to the cost of housing

In a couple of stories yesterday, the Seattle Times writes about a proposal to tax nonresident buyers of Seattle real estate as a way to address the high price of Seattle housing. The Times reports that City Attorney Pete Holmes said such a tax would be illegal.

Our Seattle Times op-ed on manufacturing jobs & state tax policy

We have an op-ed in today's Seattle Times on Gov. Inslee's recent veto of a reduced Business & Occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturing companies in Washington state. We argue that manufacturing jobs are a crucial component of providing workers with good-paying middle-class jobs, and that tax incentives will encourage companies to come here, stay here and possibly expand here:

The state average wage increased in 2016, which will affect some state programs with benefits tied to it

According to the Employment Security Department, the average annual wage in the state increased to $58,957 in 2016. (The 4.8 percent increase over 2015 is apparently the largest percentage increase since 2007.) The 2016 average weekly wage was $1,133.

Novel research adds to our understanding of Seattle’s minimum wage

The UW team that is studying the impacts of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance released a study yesterday that finds that the increase to $13 last year (for some large employers) resulted in reduced hours for low-wage workers, which had the net effect of lowering their earnings by $125 a month on average.

Study finds minimal impacts from Seattle minimum wage law, but the jury’s still out

A new study from Michael Reich, Sylvia Allegretto, and Anna Godoey of the University of California, Berkeley looks at the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance.

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