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November 2016

News In Brief

  • According to the Seattle Times, the Seattle area unemployment rate has squeaked below 4 percent. September's 3.9 percent unemployment rate for the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area is down 4.1 percent a month prior, and 4.6 percent a year ago. It marks the first time since June 2008 that the jobless rate was below 4 percent. No other metro area in the state has a jobless rate below 6 percent. In September, the Census Bureau reported that Seattle saw the fastest-growing incomes of any city in the country. The statewide unemployment rate in September dropped to 5.6 percent. The state added 20,000 jobs in September compared to the month before, the most since the spring of 2000.

  • Langley, WA, is one of 10 cities nominated by Coastal Living Magazine as America's happiest seaside town. Coastal Living looked at everything from crime rates to days of sunshine in narrowing its nominees, but those living in Langley say it's more about the kind and generous nature of the people that makes the place so joyful. There are more than 200 non-profits on the south end of Whidbey Island that care for the community. Langley is the first Washington town ever nominated for the award, and by far the smallest of the cities under consideration. The winner will be announced January 11.

  • Of the roughly 60,000 city households with children under 18, just about 20,000 (one in three) live in a rental unit, according to census data released last month. Among the 50 most populous U.S. cities, only one has a lower percentage: Portland. For Seattleites who do not have kids, 58 percent are renters. Apartment developers have responded by building units geared more for singles than families. Since 2007, Seattle has added studio and one-bedroom apartments at four times the rate of larger units, based on data gathered from CoStar.

  • This summer Seattle had 58 construction cranes - more than any other city in the country, as reported by the Seattle Times. The city has more cranes than New York and San Francisco combined. It has twice as many as Chicago, Washington, D.C., or Portland. And it has an 18-crane lead over second-pace Los Angeles, according to Rider Levett Bucknall, a firm that tracks crane counts across the world.

  • Fannie Mae to ease some mortgage penalties for lenders - The housing finance entity has launched a program that shields lenders from penalties resulting from faulty appraisals, provided those evaluations have moved through an automated tool designed by Fannie Mae to spot mistakes. Fannie Mae also will let lenders verify income, assets and employment for some borrowers using electronic data versus paperwork. (Bloomberg)

  • Besieged Airbnb says users spend big on Seattle eateries - Amid concerns that Airbnb is reducing long-term housing options in a tight market, the company said its guests dropped $74 billion at local eateries and more than $1 billion on restaurants in 19 major U.S. cities in the last year. The San Francisco-based outfit is fighting proposed regulations in cities across the country. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

  • With small cities growing 10 percent faster than the nation as a whole since 2000, the personal-finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2016's Best Small Cities in America. To help Americans enjoy a good quality of life and affordable living costs, WalletHub's analysts compared 1,268 U.S cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. Its data set of 30 key metrics ranges from "housing costs" to "school-system quality" to "number of restaurants per capita." Making the top 20 small cities of America included Kirkland, WA at number 6 and Sammamish, WA at number 13. To view the full report and your city's ranking, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-small-cities-to-live-in/16581/