Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
Comments on items posted in the Editor's Log are welcome in the Forum and via the Comment link following each article (members only). Selected items by participating bloggers are also posted to the Community Log as indicated by the by-line beneath the respective articles. Arts reviews and commentaries may include opinions by the writers that are not necessarily shared by the editors or publishers.
Washington's average wage tops $65,000 in 2018
OLYMPIA – Washington’s average annual wage grew by 5.5 percent in 2018 to $65,301, according to the state Employment Security Department—representing the largest percentage increase year over year since 2006.

The average weekly wage rose from $1,190 in 2017 to $1,255 in 2018. These figures include only those wages that are covered by unemployment insurance.

Much of the increase was driven by an 8.0 percent increase in total earnings, which grew by nearly $15.8 billion in 2018. Overall, the average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by just over 75,840 in 2018.

The industries with the largest average wage growth in 2018 were retail trade, up 16.9 percent; information, up 13.1 percent; and professional, scientific, and technical services, up 9.7 percent.

The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $10 to $188, for new claims opened on or after July 1. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, which is the greater of $496 or 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $41 to $790.

Currently, about 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount, and 10 percent receive the minimum.

In addition to unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2020, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $52,700 paid to each employee—up from $49,800 in 2019.

The state average wage also is used by the Department of Labor & Industries in calculating worker’s compensation benefits and Employment Security’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program in calculating benefits starting in January 2020.
Donaldson Seeks Seattle Council Seat
Here is the text of James Donaldson's District 7 council race announcement as received May 15:

SEATTLE, WA. Pledging to build bridges and tear down walls, small businessman, 20-year pro-basketball player, humanitarian and inspirational speaker James Donaldson today enters the race for Seattle City Council, District 7. Donaldson, an Air Force brat whose father was a tech sergeant, was born in England and raised in Sacramento California. Donaldson has lived in six countries across three continents, and speaks five languages.

Donaldson is frank about Seattle’s challenges. “How can a city, a region, which birthed so many of the greatest innovations, the most ground-breaking discoveries, and some of the globes largest companies, have so many problems with basic issues?” he asks. “We have the nation’s third-largest population of people experiencing homelessness; about 1% of Seattle residents. We continue to second- and third-guess transit investments, killing projects, slowing projects, and being afraid of new projects, because of costs, without looking at the long term economic, climactic and health benefits of reducing cars. We have growing inequity and unaffordability for those with low and moderate income, living under the most unfair tax system in America, and our City Council leadership keeps making it worse. I want to change all that and more.”
“I have lived around the world, in cities millennia old that have found solutions that seem to put Seattle leaders in the fetal position. I’ve learned a few things, and I’m not afraid to use my personal, deeply painful experiences and apply my life lessons,” Donaldson says. “I have been open, honest and completely transparent throughout my life; our civic government has not. I want to change that and more.”

“One of my top goals is to upend the way we approach homelessness. We must face the fact that half of those experiencing homelessness self-identify as having a disability. 66% of those have two or more disabilities. And yet we are not adequately addressing these many varying disabilities,” Donaldson notes. “Far too many people on our streets suffer mental illness, or other disabling conditions brought on by trauma. Homelessness itself is traumatic, and people have turned to drugs to self-medicate, and become addicted. But Seattle doesn’t just enable drug addiction, it facilitates it. We need triage, more Mobile Crisis Response Services, and more supported living residences. We cannot criminalize mental illness.”

Donaldson has taken on mental illness and suicide prevention as his career in recent years. “Many people might look at me and say, ‘James Donaldson has it all.’ Well, the truth is that I almost ended it all,” confesses Donaldson. “I nearly lost it all. I was in a coma and in the ICU for months following a near fatal aortic dissection (less than a 5% survival rate). I had to close my business, my family left me, and, despite the NBA Players’ Union Cadillac-level health plan, have several hundred thousand dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs. For a long time, suicide was not far from my mind.

“Despite my history, my education, my life, I was willing to give up on life,” James says. “I’ve been there, and I know the level of support it takes to make one willing to not give up. I know it takes work, patience, and prodding. Because when you are sick, you cannot always make the best decisions on your own. Life doesn’t have to fade to black. We can turn the page on our policies. We must.”

Donaldson is calling for an Aging and Disability Justice Initiative, based upon Seattle’s successful Race and Social Justice Initiative, to change the way the City works with these constituencies.

Donaldson believes that if we are going to build bridges, we should invest in bridge design that protects pedestrians and bicyclists, and provides the structure to absorb the requirements of future rail lines. “Super-size cruise ships are coming to District 7 this year, currently generating more than $16 million in tax revenue. And yet the cruise ship terminals have very limited transit,” Donaldson points out. “If we can get tourists downtown and to other attractions, those tourists’ spending will help fund better transit investments, transit that directly benefits our residents. This is just one simple idea; one of many, that shift the infrastructure investment from the backs off low and moderate income residents.”

About James Donaldson

40 years ago next month, Washington State University star Center James Donaldson was drafted by the NBA Champion Seattle Supersonics. Using his first paycheck, Donaldson purchased a home in Magnolia, a neighborhood that had covenants against African American residents [4]. James lives in the same house he purchased in 1981 [5].
James started Donaldson Fitness and Physical Therapy midway through his NBA career (1989) after a career threatening knee injury and operated three clinics for more than 20 years.

He has been involved in community work since his earliest days as a Seattle Sonic. He has been especially engaged in under-served and neglected communities, such as Seattle’s Central Area and the Hill Top area in Tacoma. He volunteers in education programs, regularly tutors young children, is a strong advocate for Women and Minority owned business development and is active in the Chamber of Commerce promoting programs that help small businesses survive and thrive. He is also a motivational speaker, often being asked to speak to younger audiences in disadvantaged communities. Among his many roles, James is active in Mount Zion Church, is a Board member of the Greater Seattle, South Snohomish and the Tacoma Chambers of Commerce, is an Executive member of the Washington State Mentors, is a loyal WSU Cougar and as a dog owner is active in the Humane Society.
A business consultant and partner with several entities in China including Tsinghua University, the China Service Centre for Friendship and Cooperation and several others, where Donaldson focused on preparing students for educational, sports, cultural exchange and study abroad experiences in the USA.

He also is CEO of a startup business called Athletes Playbook, a mentorship program made up of veteran athletes helping younger ones. His other passion project, Your Gift of Life Foundation, addresses mental illness and suicide prevention. He is also a Board Member of National Basketball Retired Players Association.

Donaldson, a high school scholar who did not begin playing basketball until his senior year, has long worked with organizations promoting higher education, including the College Success Foundation.
Hiring Remains Strong in April
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 13,500 jobs in April and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April rose slightly to 4.7 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The revised estimated March 2019 unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent.

“It’s good to see the hiring rebound in March continue into April” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “April’s employment gains show the state’s labor market remains strong.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that March’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 percent was confirmed. March’s preliminary estimated gain of 27,900 jobs was revised slightly to a gain of 27,700 jobs.

The national unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in April 2019. In April 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 57,977 people in April.

More people continue to move into the labor force

The state’s labor force in April was 3,870,100 – an increase of 8,100 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,400 over the same period.

From April 2018 through April 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 98,300 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,700.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Eleven industry sectors expanded and two contracted

Private sector employment increased by 11,800 while the public sector gained 1,700 jobs in April. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in professional & business services up 2,800 jobs, education & health services up 2,300 jobs, financial activities up 1,900 jobs leisure & hospitality up 1,600 jobs, other services up 1,200 jobs and manufacturing up 1,000 jobs. Also posting job gains are information up 700 jobs, wholesale trade up 600 jobs, retail trade up 500 jobs, and transportation, warehousing & utilities up 400 jobs. The two sectors that posted job losses are construction down 1,100 jobs and mining & logging down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment moves back up

Washington added an estimated 83,100 new jobs from April 2018 through April 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent, up an estimated 87,100 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 0.7 percent with a net loss of 4,000 jobs.

From April 2018 through April 2019, ten out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, two sectors contracted and one sector remained unchanged.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Education & health services with 18,200 new jobs
Professional & business services with 16,900 new jobs
Leisure & hospitality with 12,500 new jobs
Payroll hiring surged in December
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 11,400 jobs in December and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December was 4.3 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The December unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised November 2018 unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. The December figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“Employers added the highest number of jobs since last July” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “December’s report caps off a year that has been solid for job growth.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that November’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 was confirmed. However, November’s preliminary estimated gain of 5,100 jobs was revised upward to 7,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December. In December 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,615 people in December.

State’s labor force keeps growing

The state’s labor force in December was 3,812,300 – an increase of 16,300 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,500 over the same period.

From December 2017 through December 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 57,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 30,600.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Eleven industry sectors expanded and two sectors contracted

Private sector employment increased by 9,800 while the public sector increased by 1,600 jobs in December. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,400 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 2,100 jobs, manufacturing up 1,800 jobs, other services up as well as retail trade both up 1,100 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are Education & health services up 800 jobs, leisure & hospitality, information and financial services each up 500 jobs and mining & logging up 100 jobs.

The industry sectors that lost jobs were wholesale trade down 600 jobs and professional & business services down 500 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 101,900 new jobs from December 2017 through December 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.6 percent, up an estimated 98,400 jobs, while public sector employment increased by 0.6 percent with a net gain of 3,500 jobs.

From December 2017 through December 2018, twelve of the thirteen industries added jobs, while mining & logging lost jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Construction with 14,500 new jobs;
Education & health services with 14,200 new jobs and
Professional & business services with 12,100 new jobs
Washington experienced continued economic growth in 2018
OLYMPIA--Economic growth in Washington expanded in the first half of 2018, building on the 4.7 percent growth in 2017. This was the highest growth rate of any state for the second straight year, well above the 2.2 percent growth achieved by the nation.

This report covers comparisons for 2017 annual statistics, as well as those for the first three quarters of 2018, based on the available data at the time this report was written, in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"Our Labor Market and Economic Analysis (LMEA) team provides great resources for job seekers, employers and policy makers to make informed career, hiring or policy decisions - and this 2018 report is just one of those many resources" said ESD Commissioner Suzi Levine.

As an overview of Washington state’s labor market and economy through the first three quarters of 2018, the report includes analyses of employment conditions and trends, unemployment, wages, income and employment projections. Economists and policy makers can use this report to track Washington’s economic trends. ESD produces the report with guidance from the Revised Code of Washington, section 50.38.040, Annual report.

Check out this video featuring Labor Market Information Director Steven Ross and Commissioner LeVine, discussing the highlights of the report and other resources offered by the LMEA team.

Report summary

Data in the 2018 Labor Market and Economic Report are gathered by the Employment Security Department and other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as from the private sector.

Here are just a few of the key findings in the report:

December 2018 Year-Over-Year Job Growth – Washington recorded the third highest annual average gain of job growth at 3 percent and a year-over-year increase of 3.1 percent. The Seattle metro area accounted for about 63 percent of the state’s net increase -- slightly more than its share of the state’s employment base.
Every major industrial sector, except for mining and logging, added jobs.
The state unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in September 2018 compared to the U.S. rate of 3.7 percent. Washington’s unemployment rate of 4.4 percent at the time was at an historical low for the state based on the statistical series maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics dating back to 1976.

Total nonfarm employment in Washington state is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.59 percent until 2026. Computer and mathematical occupations, management occupations and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations were projected to grow faster than other occupational groups from 2016 to 2026. By 2026, office and administrative support occupations are projected to comprise the largest share of total occupational employment.

Based upon the most recently published annual data, the median household income in Washington, as measured in 2017 dollars, rose by 14.3 percent from 2013 to 2017.
Job gains were greatest in occupations that paid between $12 and $17.99 per hour.
From 2001 to 2017, jobs paying an hourly wage of $54 and above grew faster than jobs in middle and lower wage categories.

Report compiled from 2018 Labor Market and Economic Annual Report, produced by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD),
Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises in March
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 27,900 jobs in March and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March rose slightly to 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The revised estimated February 2019 unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent.

“The recent winter events have forced a great deal of volatility into the estimates” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “I anticipate job growth will even out and settle down as the year progresses.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that February’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was confirmed. However, February’s preliminary estimated loss of 8,700 jobs was revised to a loss of 14,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February and March 2019. In March 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 68,651 people in March.

More people continue to move into the labor force

The state’s labor force in March was 3,862,100 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,700 over the same period.

From March 2018 through March 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 96,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,700.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Twelve industry sectors expanded and one contracted

Private sector employment increased by 28,400 while the public sector lost 500 jobs in March. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in construction up 14,800 jobs, education & health services up 3,700 jobs, professional & business services up 2,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 1,400 jobs, other services up 1,300 jobs and wholesale trade up 1,100 jobs. Also posting job gains are information up 900 jobs, manufacturing up 800 jobs, retail trade up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 600 jobs, financial activities up 200 jobs and mining & logging up 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment moves back up

Washington added an estimated 81,600 new jobs from March 2018 through March 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.2 percent, up an estimated 88,100 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.1 percent with a net loss of 6,500 jobs.

From February 2018 through February 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs and one contracted.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Education & health services with 19,500 new jobs
Leisure & hospitality with 12,700 new jobs
Construction with 12,600 new jobs
SP to Carry Mauna Loa Carbon Count
The Seattle Press has begun carrying the carbon count history of Earth as measured at Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii. The report echoes the monthly graph of CO2 levels there.

The ML measurement, due to its remoteness, is considered by by atmospheric scientists to be a good index of global concentrations that are thought to be the principal factor in global warming of the atmosphere.

From 1958 to 2019 the levels have steadily increased at rates not seen for millions of years.

http:/ / seattlepress.com/ home.html#SM_comp_43706

New Law Strengthens Paid Family and Medical Leave
OLYMPIA - A bill to provide updates to Washington’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday. House Bill 1399 makes several technical corrections to the new program, and clarifies a key provision related to supplementing wages while an employee is out on leave. The Employment Security Department operates the program.

Update: Website Gives Assistance with Policies and Procedures

“Our Paid Family and Medical Leave program is the best in the nation and was developed to work for both employers and employees – this bill only enhances that,” said Employment Security Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “By allowing employers the option to supplement an employee’s Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit with other paid leave, many workers won’t be faced with losing income while taking care of themselves or a family member in a critical or challenging time of their lives.”

When benefits become available in January 2020, Paid Family and Medical Leave will provide partial wage replacement to all eligible workers in Washington state for leave to bond with a new child coming into the home through birth, adoption or foster placement, to care for themselves or a family member during a serious illness or injury and for certain military related events. This statewide insurance program is funded by a small premium shared by both employees and employers. Employers began collecting premiums on Jan. 1, 2019.

Under the original law, employers would not be allowed to supplement the pay of an employee out on Paid Family and Medical Leave with other forms of paid leave, including vacation or sick leave. HB 1399 changes this, essentially allowing an employee the option to top-off their Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit with company provided paid leave. This is in alignment with other states’ policies and was supported by stakeholders representing the interests of both employers and employees.

The bill also makes some technical corrections to the law, including clarifications related to employer-run voluntary plans, appeal rights for employees covered by a voluntary plan, disclosure and privacy provisions, and some definitions within the law.

“We all need to give or receive care at some point in our lives, whether that is caring for an elderly parent or a new child, getting treatment for a serious illness like cancer or spending time with a family member on active duty military service,” LeVine added. “This program will allow Washingtonians to take paid leave during these crucial moments, and this bill will strengthen the program to make Paid Family and Medical Leave even better and more accessible for employers and employees in this state.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, passed with wide bipartisan support and with no opposition from stakeholders in Senate or House committees. More information about Paid Family and Medical Leave can be found at paidleave.wa.gov.

UPDATE
OLYMPIA - The Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds recently launched its new website with information about services and resources for workers and employers who need help resolving issues with the Employment Security Department and the Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

The Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds identifies and eliminates service deficiencies and continuously seeks to improve the Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program.

The ombuds and her team advocates for the rights of Washington workers and employers who need help in their dealings with the Employment Security Department (the Department) and Paid Family and Medical Leave.

The office works to improve Paid Family and Medical Leave by making recommendations based upon the results of complaint investigations in an impartial, efficient and timely manner.

“We are committed to addressing concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds Edsonya Charles. “We believe it is important for government to embody a culture of customer service and actively work with residents to solve problems.”

Independent
Although the Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds is physically located in the Employment Security Department, the Ombuds is appointed by the Governor, serves as a neutral independent third party and maintains full autonomy from the Department.

Confidential
The Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds maintains confidentiality of all records, materials and information gathered in the course of providing services, unless disclosure is required by law.

Information about an inquiry or complaint will not be disclosed without authorization, unless required by law.

Advocates, not lawyers or legal representatives
The Ombuds office does not provide legal representation or legal advice. It helps people understand how to navigate the Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program and assists in solving problems.

Find more information about the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds at the following link.

More Information

Nonfarm payroll employment reverses course in February, sheds jobs
OLYMPIA – The WA Dept. of Employment Security reports that Washington’s economy lost 8,700 jobs in February and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for February was 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The February unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised January 2019 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The January figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“After two strong months of payroll growth, February’s employment numbers are disappointing” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The result was not mirrored in the unemployment rate numbers, however, perhaps making it not as dire as it seems.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that January’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was confirmed. However, January’s preliminary estimated gain of 12,300 jobs was revised downward to 10,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate declined from 4.0 percent in January to 3.8 percent in February. In February 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,688 people in February.

State’s labor force adds, employs more people

The state’s labor force in February was 3,849,800 – an increase of 14,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,400 over the same period.

From February 2018 through February 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 90,900 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 31,200.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Three industry sectors expanded and ten contracted

Private sector employment decreased by 7,900 while the public sector lost 800 jobs in February. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in retail trade up 1,200 jobs, information up 1,100 jobs and financial activities up 1,000 jobs. The industry sectors posting the decreases were construction which lost 3,400 jobs, other services lost 2,000 jobs, education & health services lost 1,300 jobs, while both professional & business services and leisure & hospitality each lost 1,200 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job losses wholesale trade losing 500 jobs, manufacturing losing 300 jobs and mining & logging losing 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment dips

Washington added an estimated 64,400 new jobs from February 2018 through February 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.6 percent, up an estimated 70,700 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.1 percent with a net loss of 6,300 jobs.

From February 2018 through February 2019, ten out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, one contracted and two were unchanged.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Education & health services with 16,900 new jobs
Manufacturing with 10,600 new jobs
Leisure & hospitality with 10,300 new jobs
Strong payroll hiring continues into January
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 12,300 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for January was 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The January unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised December 2018 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The January figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“The positive momentum in the state’s labor is being sustained for now” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The number of jobs added the last two months is impressive.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that December’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 percent was revised upward to 4.5 percent. However, December’s preliminary estimated gain of 11,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 13,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in December to 4.0 percent in January. In January 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,119 people in January.

State’s labor force keeps growing

The state’s labor force in January was 3,836,000 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 6,600 over the same period.

From January 2018 through January 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 83,500 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 28,400.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Eight industry sectors expanded, four contracted and one was unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 12,000 while the public sector added 300 jobs in January. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 3,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 3,100 jobs, retail trade and construction both up 1,900 jobs and professional & business services up 1,200 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are financial activities up 800 jobs, wholesale trade up 500 jobs and government up 300 jobs. Mining & logging remained constant. The industry sector posting the largest decrease was information losing 900 jobs followed by transportation, warehousing & utilities losing 200 jobs and both manufacturing and other services each losing 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 83,700 new jobs from January 2018 through January 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.3 percent, up an estimated 89,800 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.0 percent with a net loss of 6,100 jobs.

From January 2018 through January 2019, eleven out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, one contracted and one was unchanged.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Education & health services with 20,200 new jobs and
Construction with 14,100 new jobs;
Manufacturing with 12,100 new jobs
Mini-helicopters Could Easily Defeat Trump's 'Drug-busting' Wall
Imagine if you will the possible role of mini-helicopters in a hypothetical scenario.

Checking Alibaba superficially, one finds one available with the following characteristics: Motor: electric; Payload: 5kg; Range: (60 sec @ 18m/s = 1080m/min = 0.67mi/min) * 90 min = 60.4 miles, for about $5,000 to $7,000 depending on extras. Such minis can fly at under 100 feet over all terrain. Its silence, tiny cross section and low mass would make it invisible to most forms of detection, again especially at night.

The 1,000 miles of the US-Mexico border that is not regularly patrolled, especially at night, provides a landing zone of 60,000 square miles. Discounting for really remote places, that leaves smugglers with millions of random landing sites where recipients need be on site for only a few seconds to receive a delivery, and whose locations and arrival times are coordinated in real time on their GPS-enabled smart phones with accuracy to a few feet.

The wholesale value of 5 kg of heroin at $28/g (ten typical addict doses; rehacenter.net) means that the shipment is worth about $140,000. Subtract the cost of the heroin in Mexico ($25/gram) for a total of $25,000, and we have a gross profit of $115,000. The delivery cost amounts to a couple of "burner" cell phones @ $100 and the helicopter, which is abandoned after its one-time trip, with all components having been handled with rubber gloves all along the way; good luck NCIC!

After distribution and cost of sale, the street value rises to about $82/g (other estimates are up to $280) for a total of at least $400,000. (Heroin values from CBS News, 24 Jan 2019.) Assuming the lowest estimated number of addicts in a brief search (400,000 @ 50mg/day = ), that shipment represents about 1/20 of US demand. So about 20 guys with little helicopters and a huge incentive can overwhelm thousands of CBP (border patrol) officers.

Note the various sources use different rates of consumption per addict, making precise calculations difficult. What is not difficult is reaching the conclusion that anyone who thinks a wall will make any difference to smugglers es loco.

Washington ready to assist federal employees with unemployment benefits
The WA employment security dept. reports as follows: OLYMPIA – Federal workers furloughed due to the partial government shutdown may apply for unemployment benefits to help them meet their financial obligations while they wait to return to their jobs.

“Washington stands ready to assist federal workers in our state,” said Employment Security Department (ESD) Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “Just like other workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, federal workers have the unemployment safety net to help them through this difficult time.”

Federal employees may apply for benefits at ESD.wa.gov or by phone at 800-318-6022. The day they should call depends on the last digit of their social security number.

Due to the shutdown, furloughed workers should be prepared to provide verification of their wages when requested because ESD may be unable to reach their employers to verify their wages. Valid documents could include copies of pay stubs or W-2 forms.

ESD has posted a web page with more information for federal employees affected by the shutdown.

More than 73,000 federal employees worked in Washington as of the first quarter of 2018. ESD has received unemployment benefits applications from roughly 1,000 workers since the furlough started, including those furloughed and workers who were laid off for other reasons.

As required by law, workers who receive back pay should plan to repay any benefits received.
Payroll hiring continues into the holiday season
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 5,100 jobs in November and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for November was 4.3 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The November unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised October 2018 unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. The November figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“The pace of hiring softened some in November, but the overall job situation remains relatively strong” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The availability of jobs is high and hiring plans remain in place.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that October’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 was confirmed. However, October’s preliminary estimated gain of 12,400 jobs was revised downward to 7,700 jobs.

The national unemployment rate remained constant at 3.7 percent in November. In November 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 52,644 people in November.

State’s labor force grows again

The state’s labor force in November was 3,795,800 – an increase of 14,300 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,400 over the same period.

From November 2017 through November 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 39,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 25,500.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Six industry sectors expanded, six sectors contracted and one was unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 6,400 while the public sector decreased by 1,300 jobs in November. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in manufacturing up 2,900 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 2,200 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 1,600 jobs, education & health services up 1,200 jobs and professional & business services up 1,000 jobs. Other services also increased by 400 jobs.

Wholesale trade was the only industry sector that was unchanged.

The industry sector’s that lost the most jobs were retail trade down 1,200 jobs and construction down 1,100 jobs. Financial activities lost 400 jobs while mining & logging and information both lost 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 103,500 new jobs from November 2017 through November 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.8 percent, up an estimated 104,400 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 0.2 percent with a net loss of 900 jobs.

From November 2017 through November 2018, eleven of the thirteen industries added jobs, government lost jobs while mining & logging was unchanged.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Professional & business services with 16,800 new jobs;
Education & health services with 15,000 new jobs and
Construction with 12,500 new jobs

Labor market information
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WorkSource
Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with resumes, interviewing and skills training. WorkSource also helps employers advertise jobs, convene hiring events and connect with subsidized employee training.

Find WorkSource locations and more than 140,000 job openings on WorkSourceWA.