Friday Roundup: State moves on net neutrality, CEO confidence soars, heartland growth, good month for retail sales

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:

Seattle Business Magazine: Washington Leads State-Level Fight to Protect Net Neutrality

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and other state legislators and business leaders announced Wednesday that Washington would seek to “preserve an open internet” on the state level if the Federal Communications Commission votes to undo the nation’s net neutrality rules.

This would make Washington state the first in the nation to pursue a state-level solution to address this issue.

Chief Executive: CEO Confidence Soars in December, Nears Highest Levels Since 2004 

After more than a decade in the doldrums, Chief Executive’s monthly survey of CEO confidence finds the economic outlook of America’s corporate leaders nearing its most optimistic since we began the monthly survey in 2003, up 5% month over month in December and 7% since the same time last year.

This makes 2017 the second most optimistic year we’ve ever recorded, registering an average forward-looking confidence of 7.08 out of 10, surpassed only by the 2004 level of 7.47.

The Lens: Seattle’s vacation rental industry hit with new rules

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved new regulations at a Monday meetingon short-term and vacation rentals that industry members warn will backfire as the city looks to address a lack of affordable housing. Instead of opening more residential space to long-term renters, platform owners say it will lead to fewer units on the market and job loss both within the industry as well as in businesses that depend on vacationers and tourists.

City Journal: Vigor in the Heartland

Of the 15 fastest-growing major metro areas since 2010, only one, Seattle, is a coastal city. Limited urban land and anti-sprawl, anti-development politics make it unlikely that these places will solve their affordability and growth challenges anytime soon. Growth is moving to the nation’s interior…

Third, the [heartland] region needs to develop its human capital. Today’s manufacturing jobs often require computer or other technical skills, for example, so communities need labor-force training programs to help workers develop advanced skills in these sectors. The knowledge-worker labor force also needs upgrades. The heartland suffers because of the “superstar” effect. In today’s world, the spoils often go to the very top of the hierarchy. The heartland is too often good, even very good, but not the best.

Associated Press: US consumer spending rises 0.6 percent in November

The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending rose a sharp 0.6 percent from October, outpacing a 0.3 percent increase in personal income. As a result, the savings rate fell to 2.9 percent of after-tax income in November, lowest since November 2007.

The numbers bode well for the holidays and for the overall economy: Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic output.