Economic growth has finally begun to accelerate in 2012, with most sectors adding jobs each month. Yet, employment gains are modest, and the state’s unemployment rate sits at 8.5% — staying above 8% for more than three and a half years. The slow recovery in construction and continued cuts in public sector jobs are a drag on the whole economy.
Newly elected officials, including a new governor and dozens of new legislators, will have a sharp focus on jobs and the economy. How the 2013 legislature and new Governor address the funding shortage for K-12 education, implementation of the Affordable Care Act and capital investments will affect all sectors of the economy.
If Washington chooses to take full advantage of federal health reform, billions of federal dollars will flow to the state, directly supporting health industry jobs and indirectly boosting all sectors. Identifying new revenues to amply fund public education will increase jobs in local schools across the state and ensure a more skilled workforce for generations to come. Finding new ways to invest in rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure will boost the still lagging construction sector, while providing the foundations for thriving businesses and a better quality of life for all state residents.
The decisions made regarding these issues, as well as the state’s budget overall, will have significant impacts on the economy. Smart choices, progressive revenues that fund public services, and intentional state investments will move Washington into recovery, strengthening industries and communities throughout the state. Your vote makes a difference in whether the right choices are made to put Washington on the path for job creation and economic growth.
For more about the status of Washington’s economy, see: On the ropes or on the rebound? How Washington’s legislature can boost our post-recession economy.