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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

November 5, 2009 at 10:00 AM

A mixed report card for state economic climate (and not what you think)

Top of the News: Just in time for Boeing’s slap in the face, deeper-than-expected layoffs at Microsoft, and a sliding commercial real-estate market, the state has issued its 2009 Economic Climate Study.

The state actually did pretty well in the “cost of doing business” categories, and improved its standing in most. Washington is below the national average in state and local tax collections per $1,000 in personal income. It’s also below the 50-state average in workers compensation premium costs. Unemployment compensation premiums are above average — but our fund didn’t become insolvent and have to be bailed out by federal taxpayers, as happened in South Carolina.

Unfortunately, that’s not all there is to maintaining a competitive economy. Thirty-six benchmarks were set against other states. For 2009, the state improved in 13, remained even in seven, but fell back in 16.

Quality of life yardsticks had the best showing. The scary regression: negatives or relatively little progress in the measurements of education and skills of the workforce. For example, student-to-teacher ratios are higher than the national average.

The Back Story: A new report from the Center for Women’s Business Research shows that women own 8 million companies in the United States — 28 percent of the total — and create 16 percent of all jobs. The group estimates female-owned businesses add $3 trillion to the economy. You can download the report here.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Jobless claims are down

But that’s only for a week

Call me in three months

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