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October 2017

News in Brief

  • Washington state's unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.6 percent. According to the latest numbers released recently by the Employment Security Department, August's rate increased from July's 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, the state gained 2,000 jobs. The biggest job growth was seen in retail trade, up 1,900. The largest losses were seen in government, down 2,900 jobs, and other services, which dropped 1,100. Job gains and losses are estimates based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate counts the percentage of people who are unemployed and actively looking for work, and doesn't include those who have stopped looking for work. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August. The rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area increased to 3.7 percent in August from 3.5 percent in July.

  • The mayor of the small Snohomish County town of Sultan has been picked to fill a vacancy in the state House of Representatives. The Daily Herald reported that Carolyn Eslick will represent the 39th legislative district, which includes swaths of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties. Arlington Republican John Koster resigned from his seat in August to lead the County Roads Administration Board, which distributes gas tax dollars for road projects across the state. Elected officials from three counties picked Eslick, the Republican Party's third-ranked nominee for that seat. The party's top pick was former state lawmaker Elizabeth Scott, of Monroe, who served two terms in the House. Eslick will serve through the 2018 election.

  • Projected revenue for the state of Washington has increased by about $288 million through the middle of 2019. Numbers released last month by the Office of Financial Management show the state's revenue collection will be up, partly because the state's economy performed better than expected in June. Total revenue generated for the state's general fund budget for 2017-2019 is predicted to be about $44 billion. In June lawmakers approved a two year, $43.7 billion state operating budget. It spends $1.8 billion on K-12 public schools over the next two years. That investment is part of a $7.3 billion hike over four years designed to satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling that the state had not adequately funded basic education. The budget also adds $618 million for public employee collective bargaining and pay and $102 million in mental health spending.

  • Seattle has a nationwide reputation for being Coffee Town USA, and now a study confirms we're worthy of the crown. WalletHub researched 14 indicators of "coffee lover-friendliness" among the top 100 cities in the U.S. and found Seattle tops the charts, just edging our Northwest neighbor Portland, which posted a strong No. 2 showing. San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles rounded out the Top 5 while Laredo, Texas ranked last in the study. Seattle scored particularly well in the category "Most Affordable Coffee Shops, Coffee Houses & Cafes Rated 4.5+ stars per Capita", tying with San Diego, San Francisco and Portland for tops in the nation. Keeping with the "scoring well in the per capita categories", Seattle finished first among coffee and tea manufacturers per capita. In the more oddball categories, Seattle was 5th among cities who Googled "coffee". We fared the worst in "average price per pack of Coffee" which at $5.61 ranked 77th, and the average price of a Cappuccino at $4.04, ranking 69th.