Friday Roundup: Preliminary state economic review, best cities for mobility, “solid” jobs report, Seattle considers new labor law

There are always a few items we’ve read during a 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:

Economic & Revenue Forecast Council: February 3 Economic Review

Overall, our preliminary February forecast for Washington State is lower than the November forecast. The most significant changes are lower inflation, a result of much lower oil prices, and weaker Washington nonresidential construction employment. Washington employment is expected to grow 1.8% this year, the same rate as in the November forecast. The preliminary February forecast for average annual employment growth from 2017 through 2019 is 1.2% per year, down from 1.4% in the November forecast. We expect employment to grow at an average rate of 1.1% per year in 2020 and 2021. Our preliminary February forecast for nominal personal income growth this year is 4.4%, down from 4.8% in the November forecast. Our new forecast for nominal personal income growth from 2017 through 2019 averages 4.9% per year, also down from 5.3% in the November forecast.

Calculated Risk: A Solid Employment Report (good data & graphs)

…I think this should be characterized as a “solid” report.

The unemployment rate declined to 4.9% even as the participation rate increased (a strong household survey). Sure the headline number was below the consensus forecast, but this follows several months of above trend job gains (job gains averaged 279 thousand over the previous three months).

With current demographics, the unemployment rate would decline with job gains under 100 thousand, so 151 thousand is still solid.

Spokane Spokesman-Review: Charter schools need Legislature to Act (op-ed)

Our models are diverse, inclusive and innovative. Early evidence of academic gains in our elementary and middle school students demonstrates that students who came in behind grade level are now on pace in reading and math…

Our schools are also leading the way in Eastern Washington in teacher diversity. More than 30percent of the teaching staff at Spokane’s public charter schools are people of color, as compared to just 13percent statewide.

In the aftermath of the Washington Supreme Court’s September decision that ruled our voter-approved public charter school [law] unconstitutional, we have seen that support grow larger because parents are seeing the academic growth of their children, and families and teaching staff have created robust, collaborative and supportive communities in which students are thriving.

Forbes: The best cities to climb the economic ladder

Certain cities present greater economic opportunities because they have robust business climates — they offer jobs and favor entrepreneurs. They also have decent public education and solid foundations for families. What does that mean? The combination of two-parent families, decent public schools, job growth and a healthy economic climate swing the odds in your favor that you can rise above the lowest economic level of American life.

Seattle Times: Seattle council may tackle ‘livable’ schedules for area workers

Washington Restaurant Association President Anthony Anton said Thursday in a statement: “We are concerned about what a mandated restrictive scheduling policy could mean to our employees and our businesses. We want to ensure restrictive scheduling policies won’t defy a crucial cornerstone of restaurant employment — flexibility.”