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August 2016

News In Brief

  • According to a recent survey by AAA, Seattle is the second-best road trip destination, topped only by Orlando, Florida. Nearly 56 percent of us are planning a driving vacation this summer.

  • There are now 65 building projects now in construction in downtown Seattle, according to The Seattle Times. New data shows how intense the building frenzy is - and how much more is to come. There are currently 65 major buildings under construction across downtown Seattle, South Lake Union and surrounding neighborhoods, more than at any point since the figures were first tracked in 2005.

  • The flurry of construction in the region hasn't done much to keep rents in check, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. According to a new report by Apartment Insights of Seattle, since the end of March, rents in King and Snohomish counties increased 4.1 percent while the vacancy rate dropped to just under 3.9 percent. Over the last year, Seattle rents increased 10.1 percent, with the average rent in downtown Seattle nearly $2,350.

  • Last June, Sound Transit board members voted unanimously to put a massive expansion "ST3" before Puget Sound voters on the November ballot. It's a $54 billion, 25-year program to extend light rail and other services across the region using federal grants and three tax increases - sales, MVET and property. It would add 62 miles of light rail with stations serving 37 new areas, growing the existing system to 116 miles between Tacoma, Seattle, Everett and the Eastside.

  • Employers added 287,000 jobs in June, a robust pace that suggests a resilient U.S. economy recovering from a slump early in the year. The June hiring spurt marked a sharp improvement from May's showing, when only 11,000 jobs were added, and April's gain of 144,000. June's increase was the largest since October 2015. The unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent to a still-low 4.9 percent, but the uptick occurred mainly because more Americans began seeking jobs.

  • Population in the central Puget Sound region reached nearly 4 million people in April 2016, growing by 86,320 people (2.2 percent increase) in the past year, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council. This is the biggest population gain this century, and the highest growth rate in the past 20 years. King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties all experienced population growth this past year. King county grew by 53,000 people (2.5%), while Kitsap grew by 4,390 (1.7%), Pierce by 14,370 (1.7%), and Snohomish by 15,260 (2%).