The Working Forest Action Network presents new employment data documenting the struggles in rural Washington. (Click through to explore WFAN’s interactive county employment map.)
Rural Washington still lags far behind the rest of the state and the nation in terms of joblessness.
We’ve written often about the challenges facing Washington’s rural communities, most recently here and here. As we’ve said, the Opportunity Washington Priorities for Shared Prosperity is a roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. Critical to achieving shared prosperity is the commitment to expand economic opportunity in rural Washington.
So, as Washington’s more populous cities boom, life is still noticeably rougher in more far-flung parts of our state where unemployment is significantly higher than places like high-tech metropolitan Seattle. And recent changes to state wage and employment laws are making it harder for these areas to catch up. Every little bit of genuine economic activity helps if we’re going to avoid more spending to offset a decades-long downturn.
The reference to state wage and employment laws takes on particular resonance given yesterday’s report find Seattle’s minimum wage law reduced jobs and earnings for low-wage workers.