PULLMAN – A new study said Washington State University generated more than $3.4 billion in economic impact within the state last year.
The study by WSU’s Office of Economic Development was released Wednesday as the school launched a yearlong celebration of its 125th birthday.
The study said WSU delivered $18.87 in economic impact for every state dollar invested in the school.
WSU reported nearly $2 billion in research grant expenditures between fiscal 2008 and 2013, with more than $341 million in research grant expenditures in 2014 alone.
WSU has a presence in each of Washington’s 39 counties through WSU Extension. It also has campuses in Pullman, Tri Cities, Vancouver, Spokane and a growing presence in Everett.
Microsoft to suppliers: Provide paid time off
NEW YORK – Microsoft said Thursday it will push its U.S. suppliers to give their employees paid time off – but that only applies for the staffers that do work for Microsoft.
Microsoft said it has about 2,000 U.S. suppliers, who provide services such as maintenance and security. The technology company does not know how many of its suppliers don’t provide paid time off. It has heard from workers and media reports that some companies don’t provide the benefit.
Microsoft Corp. said suppliers with 50 or more employees will be asked to provide at least 15 days of paid time off for employees that mainly work with the Redmond, Washington, company. They can offer either 15 unrestricted paid days off or 10 days of paid vacation and five days of sick leave. Microsoft said it will give suppliers 12 months to make the changes.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said the rules will be written into future contracts and those that don’t comply may be dropped as a supplier. She said the company did not discuss the issue with suppliers before the plan was announced Thursday.
Last week, fewer filed for unemployment
WASHINGTON – Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that strong hiring should continue despite signs of slower economic growth at the start of 2015.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for jobless aid fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000. The decrease suggests that a recent slowdown in manufacturing, housing starts and retail sales has not trickled into the job market, a possible indication that economic growth will rebound after a harsh winter.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, tumbled 7,750 to 297,000. Over the past 12 months, the average has dipped roughly 7 percent.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The relatively low average shows that employers are holding on to workers and may increase hiring. Applications below 300,000 are generally consistent with solid monthly job gains.
Average rate falls for 30-year mortgage
WASHINGTON – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for a second straight week, edging closer to historically low levels at the start of the spring home-buying season.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.69 percent from 3.78 percent last week.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with homeowners who refinance, eased to 2.97 percent from 3.06 percent last week.
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