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Posts tagged: economic development

Washington jobless rate drops to 6.8 percent, lowest since November 2008

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to an estimated 6.8 percent in May, the first time under 7 percent since November 2008, when the rate was 6.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points since the start of the year.

Individual county jobless reports will be issued next week.

The latest report says Washington added about 4,100 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted. Economists revised the April job numbers downward by 2,100 jobs, from a preliminary estimated gain of 3,800 to a gain of 1,700.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in May were government, up 3,200; education and health services, up 2,500; leisure and hospitality, up 1,500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600; and retail trade, up 300 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included “other services,” down 1,400; manufacturing, down 600; professional and business services, down 500; construction, down 500; wholesale trade, down 400; financial activities, down 300; and information, down 200.

Two job fairs this month for those looking to land a job at Liberty Lake sales office

Vivint Inc., a Provo-based home automation company, will hold two job fairs later this month as a way to identify workers for a new Liberty Lake call center office.

Today's SR story summarizes the announcement of the company's decision to add an office here.

The job fairs are at the Liberty Lake location, 22425 E. Appleway. They will be June 20 and June 25.

NOTE: An occasional web banner ad for Vivint may appear on this page from time to time. There has been no consideration by SR employees  to place that specific ad on the same page as a story about the company. 

Spokane area lands (again) on great places to retire list

Not widely seen as a source of economic development is the appeal this area has for folks 65-and-over.

A number of publications have recognized Spokane is considered is a good place to retire. At least if you don't mind winter (or can get away until April).

Another publication just agreed with that belief: Where to Retire magazine.

Editor Mary Lu Abbott in the latest issue wrote: “Spokane possesses qualities important to today’s retirees. Signs like rising home prices and falling inventory point to a rebounding housing market. Our eight locales, including Spokane, offer boomers excellent buys now, with the possibility for value appreciation in the future, as well as an active retirement lifestyle, ” Abbott said.

The other cities mentioned are Salem,  Reno, Palm Springs, Calif., Wilmington, N.C.; Marietta, Ga.; Hagerstown, Md. and Gainesville, Fla.

What's the business takeaway: Abbott summarizes it thus: Each year 700,000 Americans relocate to new towns to retire. Generally, relocating retirees are healthier, better educated and more affluent than those who choose to not relocate. They bring significant economic benefits to their new states and hometowns. Nationally, two dozen states and hundreds of towns seek to attract retirees as a source of economic development.

Quintrall starts new job at the city on Monday; salary: $118,494

Mayor David Condon on Monday announced he's hired local BBB CEO Jan Quintrall to be in charge of the city's Business and Developer Services office. 

That office used to have the name of Economic Development Division. Theresa Sanders, the current city manager, headed that division in the administration of previous mayor Mary Verner.

Quintrall's job starts Monday; she'll earn $118,494 if approved by the City Council. 

Filling in as interim CEO of the Spokane Regional BBB will be Elea Katzele.

The official release said the new division will include building, planning, engineering services, capital programs and workforce development. Quintrall said her focus will be in eliminating red tape and making business activities and projects less cumbersome.

The key job task is “making sure the people who work (in the department) have the right tools to do their jobs effectively,” she said.

While Verner and other mayors have vowed to simplify the permitting and business application process at the city, Quintrall said the system has a ways to go.

She added, “The bureaucracy breeds on itself. There is still a lack of clarity” in how people go through the business development process, she said.

Washington and Idaho both fall short in new business-friendly state rankings

Washington government officials sometimes claim they have promoted a favorable business climate. That assertion hasn't always rung true to some business owners, who contend Washington isn't all that friendly for companies considering moving here.

The same assertion can even be made by Idaho business leaders, who can argue the state's income tax isn't a help when recruiting companies.

SiteSelection magazine just published its 2011 list of most business friendly states, based on both objective data and subjective issues such as general sense of cooperation and state support for business.

Washington and Idaho are not to be found in the top 25. We've asked the editor to help us fill in the exact spots the states have in the latest ranking.

The new leader of the pack, by this system of scoring, is now Texas, based on a strong finish in both the objective, data-driven component of the index used to determine the top business climates, and the subjective input supplied by respondents to a survey of site selectors.

Speaking of patents, Idaho remains the spud state

One of our items below looks at general trends in Washington and in Spokane County for the number of patents issued to companies or inventors.

At the time, we didn't have the comparable numbers for Idaho.

Here they are: in 2005 the U.S. Patent Office issued 1,529 patents to businesses or inventors based in Idaho.

By 2010 that number had fallen sharply; the Patent Office said 1,095 patents were issued in that year. That was at least a bump upward, from 941 awarded in 2009.

How Seattle transformed itself: Any lessons for Spokane?

So this Harvard professor, who looks at “skilled cities,” has this to say in the New York Times:

A great paradox of our age is that despite the declining cost of connecting across space, more people are clustering together in cities. The explanation of that strange fact is that globalization and technological change have increased the returns on being smart, and humans get smart by being around other smart people. Dense, smart cities like Seattle succeed by attracting smart people who educate and employ one another.

The professor is Edward L. Glaeser and this is part of a column headlined “How Seattle Transformed Itself” appearing today at Nytimes.com.

Glaeser doesn't refer to some ideas people often use when talking about high-energy, economically thriving areas, such as “industry clusters” or “Silicon Valley synergies.” 

But he's sort of marrying two frequently cited economic development ideas: the clumping of the “creative class” notion pushed by Richard Florida; and the Silicon Valley model of “coopetition” — the sharing of ideas and resources among groups of companies that see a benefit in helping each other.

The column is worth a read. Hat tip to Emily Proffitt of Whitworth University for calling it to our attention.

Does Spokane or CDA draw young business owners? Where would we rank on the top 10 list for entrepreneurs?

Which city does this make you think of:

THIS HUB for technology and industry — from Amazon and Microsoft to Boeing and Starbucks — is also a doorstep to Asia. It doesn’t hurt that it has a highly-educated population, either.

Or this description:

MAJOR GREEN credentials, a temperate climate and a growing local food scene (plus one hell of a cup of coffee) has this town on the radar of many young entrepreneurs.

Yes, Seattle and Portland, which scored No. 10 and No. 8 on a “best cities for young entrepreneurs” list published at Under30CEO.

The list brings forth the appropriate question:  Does Spokane or Coeur d'Alene come close in the hunt for young entrepreneurs?  What do we have that brings or retains bright young business talent?

I'd say there have to be five or six key traits we do have, maybe not in heavy supply, but still critical.

One is:  a pool of older, gray-haired managers who can serve as mentors and board directors, to guide the young company forward.

If you have your own list of other key traits, we want to hear from you.  Leave the comments here.

To see the site's top five cities, read the rest of the post, below:

Inland Northwest Partners hosts its annual meeting Nov. 18

If it seems not enough discussion or energy is focused on economic development in the Inland Northwest, we suggest people go find out in person, at the annual meeting of Inland Northwest Partners.

That event is Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Spokane Club, 1002 W. Riverside in downtown Spokane. 

INP is an organization of communities, economic development entities and individuals looking to boost the economic profile of North Idaho and Eastern Washington. The non-profit organization advocates a “grow from within” philosophy and works to empower smaller communities and regional groups.

The meeting’s keynote speaker is De Scott, (in photo) founder and owner of Simply Northwest, a  successful  Spokane Valley retail business. Her remarks are titled: “Steps to Small Business Success.”

Cost for members is $30 and $50 for non-members. To register, go to www.imwp.org, or e-mail inlandnorthwest@comcast.net.


Today Show names Spokane among ‘most affordable’ cities

The Today Show on Monday featured Spokane among five “most affordable cities” during its real estate roundup. Spokane was ranked No. 5.

Also named were Great Falls (No.  3) and Pocatello, No. 2.

Barbara Corcoran, the real estate expert who compiled the list, also blew the pronunciation, again referring to us as SPO-CANE.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

Recent work by Alison

Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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