Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Employment: According to the Washington State Employment Security Department we lost 50,540 jobs in this state in January. The Evergreen State’s unemployment rate went up to 9.7% (the U3 number, or those who are collecting unemployment benefits). That means that 338,910 folks are on the U3 roles and that includes 15,910 new claims that have been filed, SO FAR! In addition the U6 number or the TOTAL number of folks who are unemployed or marginally employed increased to 642,880 as Washington’s U6 percentage rose to a record 18.4% in January. Particularly disturbing with these numbers is the fact the 64,930 folks dropped out of the work force around the state, because most of them have given up trying to find a job. Snohomish County was hit particularly hard with a new U3 number of 10.1% or 38,090 collecting benefits and a U6 number of 69,392!

For those of you who follow my blogs you know that I have said that the indications are that Washington is in a double dip recession. This is very bad news for the State Legislature awaiting news from the Department of Revenue about to issue its revenue forecast for the remainder of the year. With this many job losses, the news is not expected to be good. That means that the 6.8 Billion dollar deficit “can” the Democrats seek to “kick down the road” over into the next fiscal year on 7/1 may end up being a lot more than that figure.

In the all important housing market here in Washington, things are bleak to say the least. The latest RealtyTrac numbers are stark. 4,981 new home foreclosures and a total of 37,207 since this recession began. That depresses not just the sale of housing but also the value or homes on the market. With a large number or ARM’s about to be re-set over the next 60 days and with even more mortgages about to go “under water”, that will impact future foreclosures amongst many who are currently in default.

In conclusion, we are lagging the rest of the country, still struggling with what is being referred to as a “modest recovery”. Many analysts conclude that the three states on the West Coast are all suffering a double dip recession to include Oregon and California. Alan Greenspan has commented on the problems with the nation’s economy and his candid assessment is not very positive.

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