Friday Roundup: U.S. job growth, retail jobs losses in Britain, Idaho apprenticeships, Washington schools, another open-meetings lawsuit in Seattle

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Daily Mail: Save Britain’s high streets

The Mail today launches a campaign to save Britain’s high streets – after a staggering 50,000 retail jobs were axed in the first half of this year.

The figures expose the bloodbath up and down the country as hundreds of stores – from major chains to small shops – shut their doors. 

Business leaders, shopkeepers and MPs blame punitive business rates that cripple high streets and hand a huge advantage to internet giants.

Today chief executives of some of the country’s biggest chains, along with politicians from all parties, demand reform as they warn that sky-high rates are stifling investment and driving long-established companies to the wall.

Associated Press: Apprenticeships bring skilled workers to Idaho hospitals

A healthcare apprenticeship program is helping Idaho hospitals obtain some of the skilled workers they need.

Similar to the software engineering apprenticeship program, the Idaho Hospital Association, in cooperation with the Department of Labor, provides Idaho employers with tools for apprenticeships, said John Russ, IDOL apprenticeship coordinator.

Seattle Times: Washington ranked middle of the pack for education, higher overall on child well-being

An annual report of child well-being in the U.S. found Washington has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to educating its children from their early years and helping them to graduate high school on time.

The latest Kids Count Data Book, released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked Washington 26th among the 50 states and District of Columbia for student outcomes in education, even as it ranked near the top for measures of children’s health and economic well-being. Despite slight gains in recent years, the report found that 1 in 5 high school students in Washington state still do not graduate on time, and far more than half are not proficient in reading by the fourth grade or in math by the eighth grade.

Wall Street Journal: Factory Activity Heats Up as Manufacturers Position for Tariffs

American factory activity accelerated for the second straight month this summer, in part because manufacturers were scrambling to move goods ahead of threatened tariffs.

The Institute for Supply Management on Monday said its manufacturing index rose to 60.2 in June from 58.7 in May. Numbers above 50 indicate activity is expanding across the manufacturing sector, while numbers below 50 signal contraction. The overall ISM index in February hit 60.8, its highest level since May 2004, before easing in March and April. It picked up in May and again in June.

The report is one of the first indicators of national economic activity in the month of June and points to robust activity as the second quarter drew to a close. Many economists estimate economic activity expanded at a pace of 4% or more in the second quarter, nearly twice the expansion’s average.

Associated Press: Survey: US employers added 177,000 jobs in June

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that hiring was led by employers with more than 50 workers, accounting for 84 percent of the job growth. The education and health sector led the gains by adding 46,000 workers. Leisure and hospitality added 33,000 jobs, as did professional and business services.

The job growth of the past several years reflects an economic expansion that is now entering its tenth year. But the hiring gains are now creating a challenge for employers to find capable workers, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which helps put together the report.

“Business’ number one problem is finding qualified workers,” Zandi said.

Crosscut: Seattle Council hit with second open-meetings lawsuit over head tax

As with a similar lawsuit filed around the same time in mid-June, the suit from Arthur West accuses the council of determining its decision to repeal the controversial employee head tax behind closed doors. Under Washington State law, it is illegal for a quorum of elected officials to deliberate out of the public eye….

The other lawsuit was brought by high-profile attorneys Julie Kays and Lincoln Beauregard, both of whom were heavily involved in the sexual abuse allegations against former Mayor Ed Murray. Over the weekend, City Attorney Pete Holmes offered to settle that public meetings suit for $4,001, or $500 per alleged violation, according to the Seattle Times.

In a brief interview, Beauregard told Crosscut he had sent a letter to Holmes stating his intention to decline the offer. olte confirmed his office had received the letter. However, Beauregard said his client, the plaintiff James Egan, wanted to “listen to public comment” before making a final decision. When asked what venue that would be, Beauregard said his client would be looking to comments sections in news articles.