April 8, 2019
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Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Strong jobs report keeps unemployment low, pushes markets higher

Good news from the U.S. Department of Labor: Employers are hiring and unemployment remains near historic lows.

The agency’s March jobs report showed that employers hired about 196,000 people in March, far more than the 33,000 jobs added in February, The Wall Street Journal reports.

And, average hourly wages for workers in the private sector jumped 3.2 percent compared to a year earlier. The news helped boost stock markets on Friday.

“February was a blip. We aren’t seeing any decrease in demand for workers,” said Teresa Carroll, executive vice president at staffing firm Kelly Services, the newspaper reported.

She added that hiring has eased modestly in some industries from last year because it has been hard to find workers at the wages some companies are willing to pay. “The report, if anything, reinforces what we’ve been telling clients: It’s time to start looking at your wage structure,” she said.

Sara Bennett, chief talent officer of Two Men and a Truck moving franchise, said the company seeks to hire 3,600 more movers, drivers and customer service representatives.

“There’s so many opportunities that exist right now for applicants that if you’re not acting quickly, if you’re not following up with them…then you’re going to lose them,” she told the newspaper.

The workforce shortage is impacting Washington also, as many AWB members have reported. For more information on workforce issues, please contact AWB’s Amy Anderson at AmyA@awb.org or 360.943.1600.

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Spring Meeting
Practical Education

Expand career-connected learning across Washington state

By Maud Daudon

If you're a Washington business owner or manager wondering where to find skilled workers, you're not alone. And if you're a Washington parent or high school student, wondering how to get from school to a great job, you're not alone either.

You may also be the solution to each other's problem.

Last summer, the Career Connect Washington initiative convened groups of parents to discuss education and career preparation in Washington state. As part of a 10-year effort, we are learning how to better help students connect to both jobs and advanced education so they will be well positioned to step into the state's job market. Business, labor and education organizations are all stepping up; we need the Legislature to act as well...

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times
Fiscally Unwise

A Capital Gains Tax Would Not Improve Budget Sustainability

By The Washington Research Council

Although the March revenue forecast increased estimated state revenues for the 2017-19 and 2019-21 biennia, the House Appropriations Committee Chair proposed a new capital gains tax along with his 2019-21 operating budget. The Senate is also considering a capital gains tax, although in this case the proceeds would be used to reduce other taxes rather than to increase the operating budget.

A capital gains tax would be highly volatile. Taxpayers can arrange their affairs to avoid them, and the value of capital gains realized by Washington taxpayers varies significantly year to year. Also, swings in capital gains are much bigger in percentage terms than swings in state sales tax revenue. Volatile taxes require stronger reserves to manage downturns, but the House bill would avoid constitutionally-required transfers to the rainy day fund by directing revenues from the tax to the education legacy trust account.

Additionally, a capital gains tax would certainly be challenged as an unconstitutional income tax. Even if it were eventually found to be constitutional, a court case would likely mean that any revenues would be suspended until after 2019-21. Building the budget around such a tax would be risky at best...

Read the full report from the Washington Research Council
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