June 29, 2020
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Citing unrest, cost of living and other factors, firms announce departure from Seattle

Two investment firms announced last week that they will be moving their corporate headquarters out of Seattle.

Smead Capital Management, which manages $1.5 billion, will be moving to Phoenix's Camelback Corridor. President and CEO Cole Smead said that candidate recruitment is harder in Seattle and the cost of living is more expensive than Phoenix. He also cited disruption from recent events.

"… The unrest that has taken place in the city of Seattle … there is really not a downtown business community today,” Smead said, according to MyNorthwest. "My biggest concern for Seattle was what the business community is going to come back to, and what kind of businesses are going to come back for customers."

He said the Phoenix area can offer a better quality of life, allowing his employees to afford to build households and have a family. Seattle, he said, "just wasn't like that."

Also last week, the CEO of Rex Teams, said he would be moving his company headquarters to Austin, Texas, "so my employees can be free."

Peter Rex, founder and CEO of the tech, investment and real-estate firm, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying that both San Francisco and Seattle have deep talent pools, but also "have become hostile to the principles and policies that enable people to live abundantly in the broadest sense."



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Invest in Early Childhood Education


Fixing child-care shortage and Washington's economic recovery go hand in hand

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

As Washington gets back to business, many job-seeking parents of young children face a frustrating double bind. Even if they do find employment that will help them provide for their family, the short supply of quality, affordable child care makes it impossible for them to take the job.

Nearly half -- 47% -- of unemployed parents cited lack of child care as a barrier to re-employment in a May survey, according to a state Child Care Collaborative Task Force child-care industry assessment. Since March, more than 1,100 licensed child-care providers have at least temporarily closed, exacerbating a shortage flagged by state lawmakers long before COVID-19...

Even before this spring's upheaval, nearly half of Washington parents reported difficulty finding and keeping affordable child care. Twenty-seven percent reported leaving a job, school or training because of a lack of consistent, affordable care, according to a Department of Commerce report.

This is not just a problem for working families; it is a drain on the state's economy. Commerce estimates that employee turnover and missed work due to child-care issues create an annual $2.08 billion drag on the state economy. That number triples when figuring in opportunity costs.

Addressing Washington's child-care shortage will not be easy, especially during the tough economic times ahead. But quality, affordable child care is a linchpin to the state's economic recovery. More must be done to ensure this essential sector does not fail.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Foreign Workers Support Our Economy


Big Tech isn't the only loser in Trump's visa freeze

By Tae Kim

On Monday, Trump signed an executive order that freezes access to a number of work visas through year-end, including the H-1B visa for highly-skilled foreigners, which is primarily given to workers in the technology industry. The issuance of new green cards will also stay halted until the end of the year. The administration said the order would free up jobs for unemployed Americans, adding it would block about 500,000 people from entering the country this year.

The move sparked an avalanche of criticism from technology companies. They said the measures will hurt their ability to recruit talent and have deeper negative ramifications for the economy.

An Amazon.com Inc. spokesperson called the order "shortsighted," adding it prevents "high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America's economic recovery, [putting] American's global competitiveness at risk."

A Facebook Inc. representative said Trump is using the pandemic as justification for "limiting" immigration, which will make "our country's recovery even more difficult."

And Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith said on social media, "Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world's talent or create uncertainty and anxiety."

Read the full column in The Seattle Times