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Washington wins federal grant to support economic recovery from COVID-19
OLYMPIA - Unemployed workers throughout Washington will get jobs to help the state address and recover from the COVID-19 disaster, receive training for in-demand careers and get targeted help with their job search.

The $12 million disaster recovery grant from the U.S. Department of Labor also will help the state’s workforce system adapt to providing services virtually during and after the pandemic.

The grant will:

• Place laid-off workers into jobs to respond to or mitigate effects of the COVID-19 disaster, including positions in emergency management; treatment and quarantine area set-up; unemployment claims intake; behavioral and developmental health, custodial services; delivery; food banks, shelters, and social and human services.

• Provide more workers with:
Career coaches to help create customized re-employment plans.
Immediate help with job search and placement into jobs on the state’s COVID-19 essential jobs list and other high-demand occupations.
Short-term job readiness training for laid-off workers.
Longer-term training to help people enter secure careers as the economy recovers.

• Provide equipment, connectivity and training to help the state’s workforce system adapt to virtual services.
The grant will prioritize help for people of color, those who are low income, and those who live in rural areas. The Employment Security Department, the Washington Workforce Association and the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, which wrote the grant together, currently are determining exactly how many people the $12 million will serve, but all agree the grant will kick start the state’s efforts.

"These funds will help Washington begin its pivot from disaster response to economic recovery," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "Washington was among only six states that received $12 million – the highest amount awarded. We’re planning ahead and will apply for more grants to keep cranking up our economic engines."

"Like any good economic recovery plan, ours applies short- and long-term strategies," said Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. "Our first-rate workforce development system will employ some people immediately and train others for jobs of the future."

The Employment Security Department will distribute the money using a formula based partly on the number of unemployed people in each of the state’s 12 Workforce Development Areas. ESD and the state’s Workforce Development Councils expect the money to be available soon.

"The need out there is so great, and we’re committed to working with our partners to help Washington’s businesses and workers survive these difficult times," said Kevin Perkey. Perkey is chief executive officer of the Workforce Southwest Workforce Development Council and president of the Washington Workforce Association, which represents the 12 WDCs.

"The stakeholders who came together to support this grant, including the Association of Washington Business, Washington State Labor Council, and other state and local agencies made the difference," said Eleni Papadakis, executive director the Washington’s Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board. "Together, we see a future that banks on all Washingtonians accessing a route to economic security."

People who have lost their job through no fault of their own are eligible to benefit under the grant rules. If interested, they should contact their local WorkSource center via phone or email. All WorkSource offices currently are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Payroll employment falls, unemployment rises in March
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 11,100 jobs in March and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March increased from 3.8 percent to 5.1 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The impacts of COVID-19 may not be fully captured in the March report and are more likely to be evident in the April Report”, said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Although we have seen widespread closings of schools, restaurants, and theaters, these actions largely took effect starting the week of March 16th, after most workers would have been counted. As a result, even if some firms started laying off workers as early as the second week of March, many still would have worked or received pay for at least part of the payroll period including the 12th, and thus their loss of employment is not yet fully reflected in the March report.”

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 3.8 was confirmed. February’s preliminary estimated gain of 3,500 jobs was revised to a gain of 3,900 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) rose from 3.5 percent in February 2020 to 4.4 percent in March 2020. In March 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 185,458 people in March.

Labor force decline is by far the largest month to month decline since 1990

The state’s labor force in March was 3,889,700 – a decrease of 72,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 31,900 over the same period.

From March 2019 through March 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 27,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 200.

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

From February 2020 to March 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 151,500 to 197,600. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 44,700 to 93,400 over the same period.

Five industry sectors expanded and eight contracted

Private sector employment decreased by 11,700 while the public sector increased by 600 jobs in March. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,500 jobs and professional & business services up 1,500 jobs. Also posting increases were information and retail trade, both up 600 jobs. The industries that posted the highest losses were leisure and hospitality down 12,300 jobs, financial activities down 1,500 jobs and, manufacturing down 1,400 jobs. Also posting losses were other services down 700 jobs, wholesale trade down 500 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities down 300 jobs and mining & logging and education & health services both down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment still up for now

Washington gained an estimated 64,400 jobs from March 2019 through March 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.0 percent, up an estimated 56,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.4 percent with a net gain of 8,000 jobs.

From March 2019 through March 2020, eight out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while five sectors contracted.

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

Professional & business services with 18,000 new jobs
Construction with 12,900 new jobs
Retail trade with 12,600 new jobs
The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Manufacturing down 1,600 jobs
Leisure & hospitality down 1,200 jobs
Other services down with 1,100 jobs
COVID-19 impacts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the March 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. However, it should be noted that the March survey reference periods for both surveys predated many coronavirus-related business and school closures that occurred in the second half of the month.

March data from the establishment and household surveys broadly reflect some of the early effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. We cannot precisely quantify the effects of the pandemic on the job market in March at this time. However, it is clear the decrease in employment and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus.

More from US Dept. of Labor Statistics

What It’s Like to Have COVID-19
These observations by University of Washington Physicians are a good summary of how to respond to possible infection.

What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?

Experts have identified three main symptoms of this disease: fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), a newly developed dry cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear individually or together. To ensure you’re getting an accurate reading, take your temperature at least 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising and at least six hours after taking fever-reducing medications.

What are other COVID-19 symptoms you may feel?

Along with the classic trio of COVID-19 symptoms, you may also experience body aches, fatigue, a runny nose, a sore throat, a loss of your sense of smell or taste, headaches or gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea. These symptoms don’t always occur but, if they do, they’re easy to confuse with the symptoms of a cold, flu or seasonal allergies. The main way to tell the difference between COVID-19 and these other conditions is if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after about a week.

What does a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 feel like?

In about 80% of known COVID-19 cases, the resulting illness is mild or moderate. This can range from feeling like you just have a bad cold to feeling like you have the flu and can’t get out of bed. Although you may feel unwell, people with a mild or moderate case usually don’t need to be hospitalized and can care for themselves at home. The typical recovery time is one to two weeks.

What does a severe case of COVID-19 feel like?

A severe case of COVID-19 means you require medical attention, either because you’re having trouble breathing or because you’ve developed a complication from the disease like heart failure, pneumonia or a life-threatening bacterial infection called sepsis. A mild or moderate case can develop into a severe one over the course of a few days or hours, and it can take up to six weeks for you to recover. If you’re older than 60, are pregnant or have an existing health condition or weakened immune system, you’re at greater risk of developing a severe illness from COVID-19 — but it can happen to anyone.

When should you go to the emergency room?

When you first start to feel sick, call your doctor for guidance and track your symptoms. You don’t need to go to the hospital unless you’re experiencing emergency warning signs. Things that are considered a medical emergency include having trouble breathing, feeling a persistent pain or pressure in your chest, becoming confused or disoriented, or having your face or lips turn blue. If you can, have someone call the hospital in advance so they can prepare for your visit.

Most primary care clinics remain open for in-person, medically necessary appointments. Most urgent-care are still operating. Please call in advance before traveling to any physician or clinic. To make receiving care easier, you can also choose to see your provider via a video-based telehealth appointment.


(Adapted from University of Washington Medicine.)
New unemployment claims up 116 percent March 8-14
OLYMPIA – During the week of March 8-14, 2020 14,154 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the Employment Security Department (ESD) which was an increase of 7,606 new claims over the previous week. In King County the number of new initial claims filed increased from 1,837 to 5,834 over the same period.

New unemployment insurance claims are just beginning to rise due to COVID-19 related layoffs

In Washington state, the highest percentage of new claims filed during March 8-14 (week 10 per chart below) over the previous week occurred in the accommodation and food services sector, up 597.3 percent; educational services, up 569.5 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation, up 255.8 percent; and real estate, rental and leasing, up 147.5 percent. Individuals 34 years of age and younger represented the largest group of workers filing new claims.

“A dramatically larger number of employers are announcing coronavirus-related layoffs or are utilizing SharedWork, so we anticipate substantially higher numbers of new claims in the report that will come out on March 26,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Already this week, we have seen the daily rate of new claims coming in at levels that are similar to the highest weeks of the 2008-2009 recession. Our agency is working in close coordination with the Governor’s office as well as other state and federal agencies to ensure we do everything we can to address this crisis and find every support possible for Washington’s families and economy. Our priorities are to get benefits out more quickly to those who are eligible, help more people become eligible for benefits and help those employers who are hiring get the staff they need right now.”

Gov. Jay Inslee also announced a number of measures on Wednesday to provide relief for businesses, workers and renters.
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

Dr. Tr*mp and the warm weather cure
Our self-anointed physician-in-chief has now applied his very good brain to the current global epidemic known as coronavirus, announcing among other things that once spring comes and temperatures rise everything will be juuust fine.

This will be good news in Singapore where most of my immediate family lives. Daytime high temperatures there average 93°F, plunging into the high 80s at night.

One might therefore wonder how sunny Singapore has incurred an infection rate 107 times that of the US and by what miraculous circumstance US median springtime temperatures in the 60s and 70s are going to solve this problem.

Note to trumpeteers: The fools in this scenario are not Tr*mp and his handlers, apologists or toadies; they are instead those continue to believe this man who couples ignorance with incompetence to produce bad judgment more effectively than anyone since Pharaoh detained the Hebrews.
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...

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
Veterans Day to Celebrate 100 Years since World War I
Olympia – On November 11, 2018 the world and Washington State will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting in World War I at 11:00 a.m., November 11, 1918 -- the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The Thurston County Veterans Council (TCVC) and Washington Department of Veterans Affairs will host an Armistice (Veterans) Day and World War I Centennial event in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Olympia starting at 10:30 a.m. on November 11, 2018.

Washington State will also join the world to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice with a tolling of the Bells of Peace at 11:00 a.m. The tolling of a bell is a traditional expression of honor and remembrance of those who served in World War I on Armistice Day. A Bells of Peace mobile application is also available via Itunes and the Google Play Store.

The event will feature guest speakers Governor Jay Inslee, Congressman Denny Heck and Major General Willard Burleson, the Commander of the 7th Infantry Division on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

World War I history tables will be set up by the Washington State Historical Society, Friends of Kilroy (military history group), the Fort Lewis Museum and others during the event. Various military vehicles will also be on display for the public.

Washington State is home to more than 593,000 veterans, 60,000 active duty military, 19,000 National Guard and Reserves and their families.

There are many events taking place across the state and the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs asked organizations to provide event information which is shared in a list at http://www.dva.wa.gov/list-2018-veterans-day-ww1-centennial-events-wa-state. Governor Inslee Proclamations can also be found at this link.

To see other Veterans Day Events and Celebrations happening statewide visit the following link.

Veterans Day Events

Manufactured 'Border Crisis' Has Real Human Consequences
Former SP publisher Tom Herriman recently visited the US southern border and filed the attached report in his podcast. (See News Digest.)

Tom's Podcast

Husky Fans: Tired of Being Turned Away with your Pet from UW Events?
This costume may be the solution to your problem.

Net Neutrality on the Auction Block
In what universe is turning over unfettered control of the Internet to ISP and telecomm giants consistent with the core objectives of the US government, namely " to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."?

You can still make a difference. The FCC, following the lead of their industry-tool chairman, will vote to protect corporate power and to screw you on Thursday, Dec. 14. Write your congressional representatives NOW! (https://dearfcc.org) It is VERY important that you write a personal message in the comment section; otherwise your message will be ignored as a bulk mailing. Say something about how you expect the proposed changes will harm you or your community (they will).

NEED EVIDENCE? Check out the latest Comcast ad that just arrived in my email, no doubt in anticipation of the end of Net Neutrality. The headline "What to Watch" is a harbinger of their future posture, in which there will be no other choice.

Seattle Summer Highlights
A nice summer calendar compiled by The Colin Group. (Click to enlarge.)

Scaramucci as Scientist Makes a Decent Financial Analyst
Anthony Scaramucci, who hosts a financial affairs program, is not a scientist, but he plays one (badly) on TV. One of his current themes as part of the Trump transition team is to assert that "science" is historically linked to belief in a flat earth and therefore cannot be trusted to evaluate global climate change. The fact is that no well educated person in the western world has believed in a flat earth for over TWO THOUSAND YEARS.

The spherical shape of the Earth has been clear since before Eratosthenes first estimated its circumference in about 200 B.C. Depending on which estimate of the length of the "stadia" with which he measured distance, he erred on the circumference by only a few miles. At the time, such inquiries were part of a broad range of intellectual inquiry the Greeks called "philosophy" (Eratosthenes was a Greek Egyptian during the Ptolemaic dynasty following Alexander the Great).

The modern concept of "science" is not merely the aggregation of anecdotal observations. It involves the formation of hypotheses and repetitive observation and testing followed by more repetition until it becomes clear that a hypothesis is proven. Often later observations using new techniques may call the old hypothesis into question, so the whole process resumes and continues until the old or the new proves to be the better explanation of reality. Better tools yield better explanations; this does not mean the older investigators were fools or knaves.

Despite the fourth-grade story we all heard, Columbus and contemporary scholars were well acquainted with the spherical Earth; he did, however, apparently believe the Earth to be much smaller than it really is, leading to his assertion that he could sail directly to Asia. (There are many claims about what Columbus really knew, of course.) Whether ordinary people understood the truth is another question, but the matter was correctly understood by navigators and scholars.

It is likely that Eratosthenes will continue to be long remembered and admired. It is also likely that Scaramucci will be quickly forgotten once his TV caché and the never-happened belief of "science" in a flat-earth hypothesis has faded from our cultural memory.