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State of women-owned businesses: some upsides, some downsides

A recent overview of women in the workplace shows that Seattle is ranked 20th in the nation in growth of women-owned businesses over the past 15 years. Washington state was ranked 35th out of all states in the growth of number of women-owned businesses. 

But while this is interesting stuff, here is a key statistical caveat, presented by the group that collected the data (a foundation created by American Express):
Data from the past three censuses – 1997, 2002, and 2007 – were collated, analyzed and extrapolated forward to 2012, factoring in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not only nationally but also at industry and state levels. State-level GDP changes over the period of analysis are applied to our estimates of change at the metropolitan level.
So to be accurate, this isn't up-to-date information, but it's useful in a limited way. To see an overview of the full report, it's here.
The data was analyzed and used to create three rankings: growth in number of women-owned firms, growth in those firms' revenue, and growth in employment. Seattle was 20th out of 25 major cities on number of new women-owned businesses. But when all three categories were measured, it did better.
The top 10 cities when combining all three rankings into overall ranking are:
Washington, D.C.
San Antonio
Tampa/St. Petersburg
(tie) Seattle and Portland 
The other big-picture piece of information reported by American Express is:  "Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 54 percent since 1997."
And: "Despite the fact that women-owned firms continue to grow at rates exceeding all but the largest U.S. corporations and account for 29 percent of all enterprises, women-owned firms employ 6 percent of the country’s workforce and contribute just under 4 percent of business revenues. Even when comparing the contributions of women-owned firms only to privately held businesses, women contribute just 14 percent of employment and 11 percent of revenues."

Economy improving, state budget in black from tax hikes

OLYMPIA — Although the economic recovery “lost steam” in May, the state’s economic outlook is slowly improving and the state’s budget no longer awash in red ink.

What’s keeping it in the black, however, are hundreds of millions in new taxes the state expects to collect through mid 2013, and an as-yet unfulfilled promise of $480 million in federal money.

Arun Raha, the state’s chief economist, said this morning the state’s job growth was “disappointing” in May, after several good months of increases when manufacturing and software jobs improved. In May, most of the job growth was from temporary employment for people helping with the U.S. Census.

Some employers are holding off on new hires…