Friday Roundup: Strong economy, rising confidence, Idaho explores skinny health policies, manufacturers woo millennials

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:

Puget Sound Business Journal: “As good as it get” or the “Danger Zone?” An economist looks at the Seattle area’s future

Things are good. Really good. And there’s not a lot of reason to worry they won’t stay that way for a while.

That was the big takeaway from a presentation by noted economist John Mitchell, who spoke at the Business Journal’s Outlook 2018 event Jan. 19.

“It’s not very often that we are where we are. We are in the 103rd month of this upturn,” he said. “If you look at U.S. business history, there are only two upturns longer than this one — the 1960s and the 1990s. We’re within a few months of passing the 1960s.”

Chief Executive: CEO Confidence Continues at a Record High in January

More than 250 CEOs of U.S. companies told Chief Executive last week that they expect overall business conditions 12 months from now to be “very good,” ranking them 7.62 out of 10. This confidence rating is one of the three highest on record since we began tracking it at the turn of the century, beaten only by the months of January (7.94) and July (7.83) of 2004.

Associated Press: US economy grew at solid 2.6 percent rate in fourth quarter

The U.S. economy grew at a solid rate of 2.6 percent in the final three months of last year, helped by the fastest consumer spending since the spring of 2016 and a big rebound in home construction.

The fourth quarter advance in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, followed gains of just above 3 percent in the second and third quarters, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Idaho Statesman: Idaho says no Obamacare needed for some new insurance plans

Concerned about soaring health care costs, Idaho on Wednesday revealed a plan that will allow insurance companies to sell cheap policies that ditch key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

It’s believed to be the first state to take formal steps without prior federal approval for creating policies that do not comply with the Obama-era health care law. Health care experts say the move is legally dubious, a concern supported by internal records obtained by The Associated Press.

Pew Research: Economic policy issues see decline in public importance

A new national survey by Pew Research Center of 1,503 adults, conducted Jan. 10-15, 2018, finds that strengthening the economy continues to rank among the public’s leading priorities (71% top priority), along with defending against terrorism (73%) and improving the educational system (72%).

However, fewer view the economy as a top priority than did so four (80%) or eight (83%) years ago…These shifts come as attitudes about the economy and jobs availability have become more positive.

National Association of Manufacturers: How manufacturers can win the war for millennial workers

First and foremost, millennials must see manufacturing as a viable career choice. For too many, manufacturing drums up thoughts of loud, low-paying and physically labor-intensive jobs.

We need to show them what we already know: These aren’t your father’s manufacturing jobs. In fact, given how fast the industry is changing, these aren’t even your older brother’s manufacturing jobs.

It’s actually a perfect marriage. Millennials want technology jobs. And the industry is in need of software developers, data scientists and engineers to drive the digital revolution forward.