The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s March 11 update contained some good news for the state.
In the last three months the Washington economy added 31,600 jobs, a very strong 4.1% rate of growth (SAAR). In contrast, employment grew at an average rate of 2.9% during the previous 12 months. The construction sector added 7,700 employees in November, December, and January. We believe that unusually mild weather accounted for some of the strong growth in construction employment. Manufacturing employment rose 3,600 in spite of the loss of 400 aerospace jobs. Private services-providing employment grew 18,800 in the three-month period and the public sector added 1,400 jobs.
Revenue collections were up a bit.
Major General Fund-State revenue collections for the February 11 – March 10, 2015 collection period were $16.7 million (1.6%) higher than the February forecast. Revenue Act collections came in $21.6 million (2.3%) less than forecasted while non-Revenue Act collections came in $38.3 million (38.9%) higher than forecasted. Most of the surplus in nonRevenue Act collections came from real estate excise taxes. The forecast included a $13.3 million audit payment that did not occur during the collection period but is still expected to occur. Had the payment occurred as expected, collections would have been $30.0 million (2.8%) higher than forecasted.
The Washington Research Council takes special note of migration into the state and concludes,
This is a clear sign that the economy is returning to normal.
Normal is good.