November 26, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

New revenue forecast shows continued growth in state economy

An updated revenue forecast shows Washington state is expected to take in $163 million more in tax collections than previously expected during the next two-year budget cycle. The number, released last week by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, is the latest in a series of revenue upticks that reflect an overall strong and growing economy.

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Celebrate Washington employers at Wednesday's third-annual AWB Evening of Excellence awards

The finalists have been announced for AWB's third-annual Evening of Excellence awards. This is AWB's chance to celebrate innovation, environmental stewardship and the overall community spirit of Washington's diverse employer community -- and enjoy a red-carpet evening at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The winners will be revealed at the awards gala this Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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Manufacturing Excellence Award winners to be honored at Evening of Excellence soiree

The state's top manufacturers will be among the employers to receive awards during this Wednesday's Evening of Excellence at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Tickets are still available to AWB's third-annual awards gala.

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U.S. manufacturers face shortfall of 2.4 million workers, study shows

A new study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute shows that as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled over the next 10 years. As part of the effort to close the skills gap, several public- and private-sector efforts are underway in Washington to address workforce issues.

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First phase of statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program begins Jan. 1

Employers -- if they haven't already -- need to prepare for the first phase of the statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program. Beginning Jan. 1, employers and employees will start paying premiums into the leave system, though benefits are not available until Jan. 1, 2020. The state Employment Security Department, which will administer the program, has put together an Employer Toolkit and other information that is available on the agency's website to help employers prepare.

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Spokane invests in new rail line to recruit aerospace, other manufacturers

City, county and airport leaders are launching a new project to build a $2 million short-line rail project. It's part of a larger effort to bring more development and manufacturing jobs to the West Plains area. The track will connect the Geiger Spur to Spokane International Airport property.

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AWB HealthChoice: High-quality, affordable health care coverage for small business

Renewals for AWB's HealthChoice plan are due Dec. 1.

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Federal Issues

U.S. ports see surge of imports ahead of new tariffs

Ports in California and on the East Coast have reported double-digit growth in imports as companies move to get ahead of U.S.-China trade tensions.

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Other News

T-Mobile to invest $160 million in Bellevue headquarters renovations

T-Mobile has announced plans to invest $160 million to renovate its headquarters in Bellevue, underscoring its commitment to stay in the Puget Sound region.

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State officials release new draft of overtime rules

The state Department of Labor and Industries has released a new draft version of changes to the state's overtime rules. The draft would make the new threshold two to two-and-a-half times the state's minimum wage in 2020.

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L&I seeks feedback on employee overtime rule changes at November listening sessions

The state Department of Labor and Industries will hold three more listening sessions Nov. 27-29 to receive feedback from employers and others on the impact of the agency's proposed employee overtime rule changes.

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State Commissioner of Public Lands makes $90 million funding request to support orca, salmon habitat

State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has announced a $90 million funding request to protect and improve habitat for orcas and salmon in the Puget Sound.

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AWB Events & Resources

Holiday Kids' Tree to celebrate 30 years of cheer and helping needy families

The 2018 Holiday Kids' Tree lighting in Olympia will mark the 30th anniversary of this event, which AWB hosts. Gov. Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee will help light the tree Dec. 7, and, as usual, a special guest from the North Pole will greet children after the tree-lighting ceremony.

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Registration now open for new-look 2019 Legislative Day and Hill Climb

Registration is now open for AWB's 2019 Legislative Day and Hill Climb. This annual event features a new look this year but, as always, provides Washington employers several ways to connect with state lawmakers, and carry the message on issues that matter to Washington employers.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Employment Law Committee to meet Nov. 27

The AWB Employment Law Committee will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 10 a.m.-noon, at AWB to discuss several issues ahead of the 2019 legislative session. The agenda includes topics such as paid leave, overtime, independent contractors, non-competes, restrictive scheduling and workers' compensation. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workforce issues, at 360.943.1600 to learn more.

AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force to meet Jan. 7 in Olympia

AWB's Rural Jobs Task Force will meet Monday, Jan. 7, at the AWB offices in Olympia. Agenda topics include a discussion of the upcoming legislative session, input from the recent Rural Jobs Summit, and updating the group's Legislative Objectives as appropriate. For those that want to participate by phone, please contact Tommy Gill at 360.943.1600 or

Tweet of the Week

Must-see TV

They Said It

Bigger Budget

"But -- and you knew this was coming -- they say it's not enough." -- Jerry Cornfield, statehouse reporter for The Everett Herald, on Gov. Jay Inslee's and the Democratically-led Legislature discussing the 2019-21 budget and the need for more taxes despite growing state tax collections that will push the state budget to $50 billion -- up from more than $45 billion in the 2017-19 state operating budget.

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Celebrating Excellence
Good News From Tacoma

A Huge Win for Business - Interim Regulations Renewed

By the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce

Last Tuesday Nov. 13, the Tacoma City Council voted to renew the existing Tideflats Interim Regulations as-is with no amendments, which is a big WIN for industrial lands in Tacoma and will allow continued growth and investment from our existing businesses.

The amendments would have effectively halted growth of industrial businesses for the next two to four years, and we appreciate the Mayor and council members who voted 6-3 opposing both amendments. Our message was loud and clear -- businesses need certainty and predictability to invest, and Tacoma needs the living wage jobs that the manufacturing, industrial and maritime sectors provide.

Read the full column at the chamber's website
Growing Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing Businesses Vital to Washington's Economic Health

By Kris Johnson, AWB President

When the manufacturing sector is strong, communities become stronger, and families are lifted into the middle class.

Employees in the manufacturing sector earn an average annual wage of more than $72,000, or roughly 30 percent more than the average wage in other sectors, according to data from the state Employment Security Department.

Many of those careers require a minimum of a high school degree or a certificate or a two-year degree, making it attractive to those who want to work with their hands and be part of building second-to-none, Washington-made goods and products.

Read the full column in the Journal of Business
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