It's interesting to note that information released this week by the Washington State Department of Commerce shows Benton and Franklin Counties are the ONLY 2 in the state showing any kind of recovery, especially for employment.

Benton and Franklin have increased their job numbers 3 and 5 percent respectively, while Okanogan County ranks as the worst, at -18%.

According to the Commerce Department (statewide totals):

  • Job postings are down 20 percent
  • The unemployment rate sits at 7.4 percent
  • Taxable retails sales, down 12.8 percent
  • Taxable retail income (from business profits) down 8 percent
  • The state's export volume (goods and services) down a whopping 21 percent
  • Consumer behavior, credit spending, down 2 percent
  • Consumer behavior, time spent outside the home, down 11 percent

The only increases we see in the data are in the catagories of social support:

  • Basic Food Participants (SNAP) up 17 percent
  • TANF (temporary assistance for needy families) up over 30 percent

Other Federal data released this week shows (again) Washington state has the highest number of unemployment claims in the US.

Chalk that up to the legacy of Gov. Inslee's COVID lockdowns, shutdowns and lack of recovery policies that work. Many legislators, including Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) and Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) point to Inslee's Safe Start Economic plan as being a distant failed memory. They and others in the legislature ask what happened to it, and where did it go? The plan, and it's "Phases," were introduced back in May, but the Phase program has become a mockery,  with 'modified Phase One,'  or Phase 1.5' etc. and myriad of pauses. A handful of counties are in Phase 3, but most are mired in Phase 1.5 or 2, and nobody has moved for nearly 2 months.

Same for his Washington Recovery Group that was announced in mid October. They were supposed to help provide leadership and plans to steer the economy back from COVID.  That last we heard, they were supposed to meet by end of the month-Oct. Nothing has been heard from the group since.

To see the Department of Commerce report and charts, click on the button below.

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