Weekly Reader

Friday, May 22, 2020

Economic Development

Here is an interesting piece from Erik Hovee titled More Deaths From Unemployment than COVID? The article delves into a number of issues relating to a 1981 article that outlined that a 1% point increase in unemployment could be associated with 37,000 +/- deaths in America. His conclusion based on the research then and now Yes, there appears to be a definite association of mortality with unemployment. After reading this article, I started thinking about our region and the historic fact that we average about 2% higher unemployment rate than the nation. Has that higher rate of unemployment in the Lower Columbia region affected our regional mortality rates in some way?  I do not have answers, but it reinforces the importance of economic development and wealth creation in our region. Click here for the full story.

From the Association of Washington Businesses “As the curve flattens, concerns over the supply chain are on the rise as Washington employers turn their attention to the eventual reopening of the state economy. Washingtonians continue to step up, including a strong response from manufacturers contributing to production of essential protective equipment for local health care providers and first responders.” Click here for more information.

From the Washington Employment Security Department – Washington’s economy lost 527,000 jobs in April and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April increased from 5.1 percent to 15.4 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Month Total Job losses Unemployment rate 2019 Unemployment Rate
March 2020 25,400 5.1 percent 4.5 percent
April 2020 527,000 15.4 percent 4.4 percent

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments has been invited to apply for $400,000 in funding over the next two years to provide COVID-19 related planning and assistance in the region. This is possible due to the Economic Development District formed between the two counties in 2018. Watch for more information on this effort. Please let me know how you might engage in this process.

From the Washington Employment Security Department –“ The Employer Demand and Supply-Demand Reports have been updated through April 2020. April 2020 data shows that the ratio of job postings compared to unemployment benefit claimants has been affected by the COVID-19 Crisis. The ratio for the number of job postings compared to those interacting with the unemployment insurance system from April 1 through April 30, 2020 was 0.22 job postings, whereas the April 2019 ratio was 2.27 job postings”.

Electric vehicles have come a long way since the 1890s. Popular Science, May 18, 2020. Click here for the full story.
“Things are going to look worse before they start to get better. A terrible March for truck freight is expected to be just a precursor to the worst quarter on record in the industry, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence analysis”. Click here for the full story from Fleet Owner.

Community Development / Other
Counting everyone in the 2020 Census can help communities receive funding for health care, education, emergency services, and more. Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions for communities nationwide.

If you have already responded to the 2020 Census—thank you! Your response helps shape your future. If you have not yet responded online or by phone, you may receive a paper questionnaire so you can respond by mail. You are strongly encouraged to respond promptly. Even if you receive a paper questionnaire, you can still respond online at 2020census.gov.

Census 2020 Schedule

Self-Response Period — Underway March 12 – Oct. 31      
Field Operations Restart – Underway May 11   
Update Leave — Underway May 11
Group Quarters (paper and e-response) April 2 – Sept. 3
Group Quarters  (in-person enumeration) July 1 – Sept. 3
Non-Response Follow-Up Aug. 11 – Oct. 31
Transitory Locations Sept. 3-28
Counting the Homeless TBC
Mobile Questionnaire Assistance TBC

Congratulations to everyone in Cowlitz County for their timely self-response to the 2020 Census. Cowlitz is ranked 9th in overall response rate currently. Wahkiakum is currently 23rd in the state and doing well also. Wahkiakum is approaching the self-response rate achieved in 2010 with plenty of time to self-respond. Please share the message that self response to the Census is the way to go to ensure our share of funding for the next decade.

Top 20 Response Rates by County
(as of May 17)
1 Clark County 69.7%
2 Benton County (tied) 69.1%
  King County (tied) 69.1%
4 Spokane County 68.6%
5 Thurston County 68.5%
6 Kitsap County (tied) 68.4%
  Snohomish County (tied) 68.4%
8 Whatcom County 66.9%
9 Cowlitz County 65.4%

Rethinking governance across jurisdictions. “A pandemic knows no borders, but at every turn our policies are confined by them.” Tracy Hadden Loh and Annelies Goger say it’s time for a new approach to urban governance.

Questions regarding COVID-19 funds coming through Washington Department of Commerce for towns, cities and counties should be directed to the regional CDBG representative with Commerce. Click here for FAQ’s. CDBG Section manager
Local Government Division, Kaaren Roe, Phone: 360.725.3018, www.commerce.wa.gov/CDBG

Almost all economic data were negative this month according to the state of Washington Economic Review and Update release. “Nationally, the labor market saw the unemployment rate reach its highest level in the history of the series, which dates back to January 1948. Residential construction and sales weakened, manufacturing activity contracted and construction and service sectors slowed”.  Click here for the rest of the release from the state.

The latest in planning for the safe reopening of public buildings from MRSC.

Here is a link to FEMA guidance of opening public facilities.

Click here for an assortment of articles from the State Auditor relating to COVID-19.