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.
Shifting Seattle to public transportation
Some advocacy group has been posting photographs supposedly of alternative modes of transportation in the Seattle. Note to the noncognoscenti: these photographs show the only level street in all of downtown Seattle, specifically on Second Avenue.

Any other route—for example any street crossing Second Avenue itself and continuing more than a block or so—requires climbing hills at 45° angles. It is a popular fantasy of the sandals and ponytail set that cars can be completely replaced by other means of transportation. The reality is that residents of the urban area travel not in straight lines as shown but in thousands of sporadic and random trips among millions of random destination. Most of those trips originate and end outside the municipality of Seattle in other municipalities whose local governments' propensity for competition exceeds their desire for cooperation.

By far the greater problem is the storage of all the needed vehicles between trips; paradoxically, Seattle is allowing high-density construction without parking, which adds to the backup in congested areas. Walking or cycling on the few level streets in the metropolitan area may be a healthful alternative for twentysomethings, but it is surely inappropriate for taking children to after-school activities or elderly residents to appointments or shopping.

Greater Seattle and surrounding counties are in the process of building a fixed-rail transit system, whose origins and destinations in addition to downtown Seattle include several suburban shopping malls, many of which are in decline under pressure from online purchase and delivery systems. That system, like many in older eastern cities, maybe come maladapted to future residential working patterns.

Happily a better solution is on the horizon in the form of autonomous vehicles that are not owned by their occupants but instead respond to short-term demand for travel between random origins and destinations without regard for arbitrary starting and ending times such as the eight-hour workday. In the interim, buses are the alternative that offers both predictable routing and flexibility. The challenge is not technological but social, as buses hardly confer high social status on their riders.

Sadly, the political battle is the most intractable part of this problem. The overwhelming disparity of the funds available to the automobile and gasoline lobbies compared to the alternative approaches makes it unlikely that rationality will prevail.
Good-Bye Electoral College? Popular Vote Movement Gaining Steam
It’s not just Democrats that see the virtue in reforming presidential elections

by Steven Rosenfeld

The main attraction of a national popular vote system is that it would change the way that presidential campaigns are conducted—moving them onto more of a national stage—and emphasize that every vote counted, no matter where it was cast. (Photo: AP)
The main attraction of a national popular vote system is that it would change the way that presidential campaigns are conducted—moving them onto more of a national stage—and emphasize that every vote counted, no matter where it was cast. (Photo: AP)
There’s new momentum around the National Popular Vote movement, where states will award Electoral College votes to elect the president based on which candidate has won the most votes nationwide—instead of today’s state-by-state winner-take-all system.

“It does have new momentum, because there was a [recent] period starting with the second Obama election when Democrats bought into this blue-wall theory” that their political party had a lock on the White House, said John Koza, a former Stanford University scientist who co-founded the National Popular Vote project in 2006.

The reform is based on states joining an interstate compact, a legally binding vehicle where states make agreements among themselves despite a national federal government. In this case, states, which the U.S. Constitution empowers to oversee its Electoral College process, agree to award their presidential votes to the national popular vote winner. As of early 2019, the project was two-thirds of the way toward reaching the threshold needed for a 270-vote Electoral College majority, but more states are poised to join.

Continues...

Payroll hiring bounces back in November
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 12,200 jobs in November and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for November fell slightly to 4.4 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“The November data are an encouraging sign that the state’s labor market is still doing well” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The previous two months had raised concerns about the continued strength of the job market, so it’s good to see it pick back up in time for the holidays.”

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 4.5 was confirmed. October’s preliminary estimated loss of 1,600 jobs was revised to a loss of 800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.5 percent in November 2019. In November 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 52,750 people in November.

Job prospects keep attracting job seekers

The state’s labor force in November was 3,940,000 – an increase of 21,100 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 8,200 over the same period.

From November 2018 through November 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 116,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 47,000.

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

Nine industry sectors expanded, three contracted and one remained unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 11,000 while the public sector increased by 1,200 jobs in November. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 3,600 jobs, leisure and hospitality up 2,700 jobs, construction and professional & business services both up 1,900 jobs, government up 1,200 job and wholesale trade up 1,000 jobs. Also posting increases were other services up 400 jobs, and mining & logging and manufacturing both up 100 jobs. The three industry sectors that posted losses were retail trade down 400 jobs, information down 200 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities down 100 jobs. Financial activities was the only industry sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 66,600 new jobs from November 2018 through November 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.1 percent, up an estimated 59,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.3 percent with a net gain of 7,500 jobs.

From November 2018 through November 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.

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

Information with 11,800 new jobs
Education & health services with 11,300 new jobs
Professional & business services with 9,800 new jobs
Labor market information
Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics to highlight popular information and data.
SP Opens Neighborhood Correspondent Program
Here's how it works. You become a member of the website; just click Join near the top of any page. You will need to fill out a form and respond to a message from the system. This will allow you to sign in and post updates to your personal profile. Of course, if you're already a member, you can skip this step.

Now send a message from the contact form linked at the bottom of every page to the editor. Ask to be made a correspondent. Include the new user ID you just created and the name of your neighborhood.

We will contact you to discuss specific requirements. Following that conversation, assuming we're in agreement, we will schedule an online training session of about one hour, after which we will flip the switch to make you a correspondent.

You will be able to add articles to the News along with related links and images. Preface each article with the name of your neighborhood. Articles will be reviewed prior to publication for style and content by the editors and then activated or returned for changes. Once approved, articles will be activated. Based on demand and volume, a news category may be established for your neighborhood.

More information

Payroll employment moves lower in October; unemployment rate slightly lower
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 1,600 jobs in October and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for October fell slightly to 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“The labor market continues sending mixed messages this month” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Household members are finding jobs in spite of businesses reporting rollbacks. What’s becoming more evident overall is that hiring conditions are softening.”

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 September’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. September’s preliminary estimated loss of 3,100 jobs was revised to a loss of 5,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.6 percent in October 2019. In October 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 45,942 people in October.

The labor market absorbs more job seekers

The state’s labor force in October was 3,922,300 – an increase of 15,200 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 7,000 over the same period.

From October 2018 through October 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 100,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 39,400.

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

Four industry sectors expanded, eight contracted and one remained unchanged

Private sector employment decreased by 1,500 while the public sector decreased by 100 jobs in October. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 1,300 jobs, information up 800 jobs, construction up 700 jobs and financial activities up 600 jobs. Other services posted the largest decline down 1,300 jobs followed by manufacturing down 1,100 jobs, education & health services down 1,000 jobs and wholesale trade down 800 jobs. Also posting losses were professional & business services and transportation, warehousing & utilities each lost 300 jobs while both government and mining & logging each lost 100 jobs. Leisure and hospitality was the only industry sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 67,600 new jobs from October 2018 through October 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.2 percent, up an estimated 61,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.0 percent with a net gain of 6,200 jobs.

From October 2018 through October 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
  • Information with 13,400 new jobs
  • Professional & business services with 10,100 new jobs
  • Education & health services with 7,800 new jobs

    Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the third quarter of 2019. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2018 through the third quarter of 2019 for Washington state was 8.1 percent. This was lower compared to the 8.4 percent U-6 unemployment rate one year prior. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate was 7.3 percent over the same time period.
  • Lindsey Graham Deprecates Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts
    A friend posted on social media a link to a social media article labeled "Lindsay Graham says he won't read impeachment transcripts," and he has also full-throatedly supported Tr*mp in other forums. Another friend asked, "what happened to him? John McCain must be turning over in his grave."

    It seems rather obvious: He's positioning himself as Tr*mp's successor, knowing he'd whomp VP Mike Pence in primaries. By appearing to support Tr*mp now, he can preserve rapport with the crazies while potentially appealing to a wider audience.

    Would a deposed Tr*mp support Pence or Graham?
    More Deviltry in Turkey; This Time It's Murder
    The behavior of Erdogan's Turkish military and "uncontrolled" militias, if correctly reported, in the murders of Kurdish civilians along the Turkey-Syria border in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing, may force the US to remove its nuclear arsenal from Turkey before taking any action that might be perceived as anti-Turkish. Such a pullback from Turkey has been the former USSR and Russia's and Putin's wet dream for SIXTY YEARS since the Cuban missile crisis! What will Fearless Leader do next? Only one thing is certain: It will be something equally thoughtless and ignorant.

    The substitution of defensive deployments to protect Syrian oil fields for the previous deployments to protect actual human beings is in an INCREASE in the number of US troops in Syria and in no way meets the generally accepted goal of reducing the US footprint in the region. The reduction in the border area appears to have been a whim based on a desire to please Erdogan and the latter should have been a joint effort by an international force. Both would have benefitted from forethought and diplomacy, which are both in short supply in today's regime.
    TRUMP TOWER MOSCOW 'Net Domain Renewed During, After Campaign
    Pres. Trump has claimed that he had no pending deals in Russia after the beginning of his presidential campaign. Yet consider the Internet domain trumptowermoscow.com. It was registered in 2008 by "The Trump Organization" and has been renewed annually including three times (2015, 2016 and 2017) since the presidential campaign of 2016 began.

    If indeed the project was to end before the election campaign of 2016 as Pres. Trump has asserted, why would registrants renew the related domain afterward, most recently in July 2017, through 2018? It certainly contradicts the statement that the candidate had no pending deals in Russia. It would appear that someone within The Trump Organization is at the very least hedging his bet, and as everyone knows, that "organization" is totally controlled by one person.

    Two reasons for the contradiction suggest themselves: Either (a) that oft-cited, unnamed "low ranking employee who is no longer with the company" failed in his/her responsibility to cancel it, or (b) there was never any intent to abandon the project unless the presidential bid faiiled. Take your choice.

    Of course there may be other possible reasons for the unnecessary renewal, such as poltergeists, an undiscovered email from Hillary or surreptitious actions by unnamed conspirators out to get The Donald.

    Following is the WHOIS query —which anyone can execute— that shows the original registration and status (standard disclaimers & terms omitted). The standard terminal inquiry, which obscures the name of the registrant using a privacy device of the registrar, is followed by the public report from whoisxy.com (LINK) which reveals the name of the registrant.

    As Deep Throat might have said had he lived longer, "follow the domain."

    STANDARD INQUIRY
    whois trumptowermoscow.com
    Domain Name: TRUMPTOWERMOSCOW.COM
    Registry Domain ID: 1508992055_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
    Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
    Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
    Updated Date: 2017-06-28T20:25:51Z
    Creation Date: 2008-07-17T20:24:44Z
    Registry Expiry Date: 2018-07-01T03:59:59Z
    Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
    Registrar IANA ID: 146
    Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@godaddy.com
    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: 480-624-2505
    Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
    Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
    Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
    Name Server: NS49.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
    Name Server: NS50.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
    DNSSEC: unsigned
    URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/
    >>> Last update of whois database: 2017-09-13T16:41:49Z <<<

    WHOISXY.COM
    WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
    Domain Name: TRUMPTOWERMOSCOW.COM
    Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
    Registrant Name: General Counsel
    Registrant Organization: The Trump Organization
    Name Server: NS49.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
    Name Server: NS50.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
    DNSSEC: unsigned

    ©2017 A. R. Clark
    Big Energy Has another Option
    The Guardian reported (earlier in October) that "a renewable energy revolution could end the world’s rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies."

    Comment: With the tiniest nudge from the US government, which still sets the tone for the world economy, the rate of conversion to sustainable energy could be accelerated. Even the current energy companies could benefit: Though they have historically made $ by the sale of fuels and related products (plastics, another problem area), they have also created the world's greatest systems of logistics and commodity management.

    So why are they dragging their feet? Converting to this service function as their primary function could guarantee their continuation regardless of the decline of fuels. One would think shareholders who value long-term appreciation would support this approach in huge numbers. As for the speculators, who gives a damn?
    Payroll hiring continues to slow in September; unemployment rate unchanged
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 3,100 jobs in September and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for September was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

    “Lackluster hiring in the public sector pushed the payroll number into negative territory this month” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “But the upward revision to last month’s payroll numbers together with hiring reported by households suggests our labor market is holding up.”

    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 August’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. August’s preliminary estimated gain of 2,300 jobs was revised to a gain of 8,800 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5 percent in September 2019. In September 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 46,321 people in September.

    The job seekers keep coming

    The state’s labor force in September was 3,907,700 – an increase of 11,900 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,800 over the same period.

    From September 2018 through September 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 94,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 35,500.

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

    Nine industry sectors expanded, three contracted and one remained unchanged

    Private sector employment increased by 3,800 while the public sector decreased by 6,900 jobs in September. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 1,900 jobs, wholesale trade up 1,000 jobs, financial activities up 900 jobs, education & health services up 800 jobs and construction up 700 jobs. Also posting increases were manufacturing up 400 jobs, leisure & hospitality and information both up 300 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities up 100 jobs. Government posted the largest decline down 6,900 jobs followed by other services down by 1,700 jobs and professional & business services down 900 jobs. Mining & logging was the only industry sector that remained unchanged.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

    Washington added an estimated 66,000 new jobs from September 2018 through September 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.2 percent, up an estimated 63,200 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.5 percent with a net gain of 2,800 jobs.

    From September 2018 through September 2019, ten out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while three sectors contracted.

    The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
    • Professional & business services with 13,800 new jobs
    • Education & health services with 13,800 new jobs
    • Information with 9,400 new jobs
    Expect Traffic Delays Aug 16-18
    The WA Dept. of Transportation will be working on the resurfacing of the Aurora bridge this weekend Aug 16-18. Drivers should be prepared for delays and lane reductions during the construction, part of which is a spillover due to rain last weekend. More information is at the following link.

    Read on...

    State adds jobs in July, unemployment rate holds steady
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 13,400 jobs in July and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for July was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

    “Ordinarily this amount of gain in payroll employment would serve to chip away at the unemployment rate” said Paul Turek, economist for the department, “but the rate remained unchanged as labor force participation edged up again.”

    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 June’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. June’s preliminary estimated gain of 6,000 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,600 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.7 percent in July 2019. In July 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 47,227 people in July.

    Labor force keeps growing

    The state’s labor force in July was 3,885,500 – an increase of 6,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 2,300 over the same period.

    From July 2018 through July 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 93,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 33,500.

    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 10,900 while the public sector gained 2,500 jobs in July. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in government up 2,500 jobs, professional & business services up 2,100 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 2,000 jobs, construction up 1,900 jobs, education & health services up 1,400 jobs and manufacturing up 1,200 jobs. Also posting gains were information up 900 jobs, other services up 800 jobs, financial activities up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 400 jobs both wholesale trade and mining & logging each up 100 jobs. Only retail trade lost 600 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurring primarily in the private sector

    Washington added an estimated 86,400 new jobs from July 2018 through July 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 82,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.8 percent with a net gain of 4,300 jobs.

    From July 2018 through July 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.

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

    Professional & business services with 19,200 new jobs
    Education & health services with 14,800 new jobs
    Manufacturing with 9,400 new jobs
    Labor market information
    Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial, to highlight popular information and data.

    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.com.

    Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the second quarter of 2019. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2018 through the second quarter of 2019 for Washington state was 7.8 percent. This was lower compared to the 8.9 percent U-6 unemployment rate one year prior. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate was 7.4 percent over the same time period.
    State adds 6,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate holds steady
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 6,000 jobs in June and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for June was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

    "Employment continues to expand at a healthy pace” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.“ The rise in payroll jobs over the past few months has generated more opportunities for new entrants to the labor force."

    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 May’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was slightly lower at 4.6 percent. May’s preliminary estimated gain of 9,600 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,600 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.7 percent in June 2019. In June 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,364 people in June.

    Labor force adds more people

    The state’s labor force in June was 3,879,200 – an increase of 3,300 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 500 over the same period.

    From June 2018 through June 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 96,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,100.

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

    Eight industry sectors expanded, one was unchanged and four contracted

    Private sector employment increased by 5,400 while the public sector gained 600 jobs in June. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 2,500 jobs, information up 1,600 jobs and manufacturing up 1,300 jobs. Also posting gains were professional & business services, government and retail trade all up 600 jobs, other services was up 400 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities up 200 jobs. The mining and logging sector remained unchanged. Construction lost 800 jobs, wholesale trade lost 600 jobs, leisure & hospitality lost 300 jobs and financial activities lost 100 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurring in the private sector

    Washington added an estimated 82,700 new jobs from June 2018 through June 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 82,600 jobs, while public sector employment was little changed with a net gain of 100 jobs.

    From June 2018 through June 2019, eleven out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector 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 20,800 new jobs
    • Professional & business services with 16,200 new jobs
    • Leisure & hospitality with 12,100 new jobs


    DoLabor Contact: Paul Turek, labor economist, 360-507-9599 or Bretta Beveridge, communications manager, 360-902-9293.
    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.