Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Economic Development’ Category

$44M more in military dough announced for WA firms

by April 8th, 2012

According to a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Defense, two Washington employers can expect a total of up to $44 million more in military contract revenues in coming months. First, the Tacoma division of the French-born international conglomerate Universal Sodexo was awarded a one-year contract extension worth up to $36 million by the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency last week. As a result Universal Sodexo Tacoma will continue serving as prime vendor for operations, maintenance and repair for major branches of the U.S. military in South Korea, including the Army, Air Force, Marines, and civilian federal agencies. Sodexo provides building supplies and non-munitions equipment to 85 U.S. military bases in South Korea from a central 24,000 square foot warehouse, emphasizing just-in-time delivery and inventory control, according to a video at this Sodexo page.

Infographic: deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions

by January 6th, 2012

Because trees help absorb greenhouse gases, forest preservation plays an important role in controlling climate change. When forests are destroyed or degraded that harms our ability to control climate change. The problem is primarily concentrated in tropical developing nations. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office says there are three big challenges: building capacity to better document forest absorbtion capacity and its loss; improving governance in countries where the problem is most pronounced; and calibrating policy responses so they’re effective on a global scale. The study is titled “Deforestation and Greenhouse gases.” A related CBO infographic helps tell the story. Excerpts of the infographic follow.

First, the backdrop. Five different categories of energy-related activities account for two-thirds of manmade greenhouse gas emissions globally, according to CBO. Of the remaining one-third, 12 percent comes from destruction of forests for agriculture, primarily in developing tropical nations.

More U.S. funds to Boeing-Seattle for Saudi air defense fixes

by December 16th, 2011

A $50 million Foreign Military Sales contract announced this week by the U.S. Department of Defense will bring to at least $277,292,000 the maximum value of U.S. government spending with the Seattle-based defense unit of Boeing Co. and subcontractors since 1997 for technical upgrades to the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet of five E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets. They are used by the Saudis to help to protect their U.S.-allied Kingdom from potential attacks by hostile neighbors in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

Kent firm gets $64 million more in U.S. military contracts

by November 8th, 2011

Sysco Seattle, Inc. of Kent, Wash. yesterday was awarded two contracts totaling up to $64.6 million from the Philadelphia-based U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to provide food service for U.S. military troops at an assortment of facilities in Washington state through November 3, 2012. All the work will be performed from the Kent location, south of Seattle.

One contract is for $44 million to serve the Navy; this includes ships operating out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as well as Coast Guard ships, plus “various submarines and afloat vessels and currently the USS Nimitz, Lincoln and Stennis,” according to Sysco Seattle Sales Manager Tim Tauscheck. The other contract is for up to $20.6 million more, to serve Joint Base Lewis McChord and other land-based military facilities in Washington state, Tauscheck said. The contracts bring to $144 million the face value of U.S. defense contracts won by the Kent-based employer since 2004.

Sysco Seattle, Inc. formerly did business as Sysco Food Services of Seattle, Inc. and has been awarded at least four previous U.S. military food service contracts totaling $80 million between 2004 and early 2011 to provide food and food services to the U.S. military, as this DOD database search shows. The Kent-based division of the global giant, Sysco Systems, provides food to restaurants, schools, health care facilities, hotels and other customers in the Pacific Northwest, as well as supplies and equipment to the foodservice and hospitality industries.

The contracts awarded to Sysco Seattle this week continue the stream of defense dollars to Washington state employers other than the longstanding defense powerhouse Boeing. Early last month within less than a week, four Washington businesses won medical and construction defense contracts worth a total of up to $53.9 million, and later in October two Seattle companies and an Anacortes firm were among those splitting a $74 million award to build a new oceanographic research vessel for the U.S. Navy.

A September 2010 state study reported Washington companies in 2009 were awarded $5.2 billion in military contracts; and with indirect and induced effects added in, total jobs and labor income from military spending here were 7 and 8 percent respectively of the state’s totals.

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Georgetown, downtown firms share in $74 million Navy contract

by October 19th, 2011

The downtown Seattle marine engineering firm Guido Perla and Associates and Markey Machinery in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood will share in a $74 million contract awarded last week by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command to Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes for a new oceanographic research ship. Perla will perform final design for the vessel, and Markey will provide four winches which are used to lower crucial research equipment into the ocean. The vessel will be built in Anacortes by Dakota Creek, and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The contract has a $71 million option for a second such ship, which would go to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Up to three or four more similar boats may be later commissioned by the Navy to continue replacing its aging research vessel fleet.

Blaine Dempke, president of subcontractor Markey Machinery, said, “for a company like ours, this is about a year’s worth of work. It’s quite significant in terms of adding and retaining jobs.” Dempke declined to specify how much the company will be paid from the contract but said the amount is “in seven figures.” Markey will supply two small winches of about 20,000 pounds each and two larger ones each about 50,000 pounds. They’re used to lower research packages and remote-operated vehicles into the ocean which take water samples, coring samples and do other work.

Weak job growth triggers frustration for Washington’s unemployed

by September 22nd, 2011

When Tommy Lamoth lost her job in 2009, she didn’t envision a job hunt that would include eight months of collecting unemployment benefits, ping-ponging between temp jobs across Seattle, and still being unable to find work in her field after a year.

The 32-year-old Capitol Hill resident was one of millions of unemployed workers throughout the nation during a year when unemployment rates in the U.S. reached a height not seen in more than 25 years.

The latest unemployment figures for Washington show the state had a 9.3 percent rate for August 2011 – a marginal change from the 9.4 unemployment rate the year before. The Seattle metro region’s 8.9 percent unemployment rate last month was little better than the 9.1 percent rate last year.

Public Data Ferret Economy archive

The state’s job growth of 46,600 seasonally-adjusted new jobs from August 2010 to 2011 comes in stark contrast against the 321,600 currently unemployed in Washington. Lamoth’s chronic unemployment has been a sobering reminder of the difficult realities many face.

“It makes me feel like a total loser,” Lamoth said. “It definitely takes a toll on your self-esteem when you’ve gone so long without working.” Despite having earned a bachelor’s degree and later enrolling at Columbia University ‘s film and creative writing program, Lamoth has only been able to find work in temporary clerical positions.

Having previous experience as a midwife’s assistant, she has also kept her eyes open for opportunities in the field but has been able to find openings. Lamoth isn’t alone in her inability to find work in the state.

Unemployment rates ballooned in all 39 Washington counties since 2007 with jobs in construction and finance activities being the hardest hit, according to the 2010 Washington State Labor Market and Economic Report

Data from the Washington State Employment Security Department show half of the state had unemployment rates at least double since 2007, including the state’s three largest labor markets – King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties – which make up over half of the state’s job force with roughly 1.9 million workers.

Washington’s unemployment rate has consistently ranked in the middle nationally. Other states have fared worse during the Great Recession, such as California, Michigan and Nevada – with unemployment rates that reached over 12 percent in 2010. However, certain counties in Washington experience worse.

The northeastern and southwestern areas of Washington have consistently experienced the highest unemployment rates in the state since 2000: Ferry County currently tops the state’s highest annual unemployment rate at 14.7, percent with Pend Oreille, Clark and Wahkiakum Counties all tying for second at 13.7 percent. Whitman County held the lowest unemployment rate for 2010 at 6.1 percent.

The counties have been hit particularly hard due to the lack of economic investment and large labor shares in industries that were affected most – like manufacturing, mining and timber industries, according to state Employment Security Department economists.

Washington state unemployment rates by county, 2007 to 2010.
But where jobs in certain industries have been significantly shed, others are expected to grow.

Jobs in education, health services and business are projected to increase significantly by 2018 for Washington, according to state labor reports.

However, the job growth may not be fast enough, or in the right industry, for Lamoth. She said the lack of opportunities in her field can get frustrating. She has sent roughly 480 resumes since last September, mainly for writing and editing positions in Seattle, a profession that has continually shrunk its work force and is projected to further decline.

Lamoth has been considering looking for work outside the Seattle area despite being limited to public transportation. She said she takes things a day at a time. “There are days that I’m too depressed to look for work,” Lamoth said. “But I’m not ready to give up.”

Data set: Washington unemployment rates by county, 2000 to 2010.
Date set: Comprehensive state labor market data, 2009

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Federal Reserve: mainly, we buy American

by August 22nd, 2011

SUMMARY: China’s rising inflation and labor costs will have little effect in increasing American prices because, despite perceptions to the contrary, China has a small share of the U.S. consumer market, according to a recently-released economic report by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Data from the report show that only 2.7 percent of American consumer spending is for “Made In China” goods and services versus 88.5 percent for U.S.-made items. Additionally, the majority of money that Americans spent on Chinese products went for U.S. marketing, transportation and sales of Chinese goods. As a percentage of 2010 U.S. Gross Domestic Product, U.S. spending on imports was only 16 percent, with China representing a 2.5 percent slice. The Federal Reserve Bank report says this suggests that “although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed.”

Shoreline native leads nonprofit transforming drug-wracked Guineau-Bissau, one student at a time

by August 12th, 2011

Editor’s note: Public Data Ferret’s “mother blog” site Social Capital Review periodically profiles noteworthy nonprofits or community initiatives with ties to our base coverage area of Western Washington.

One Seattle-based nonprofit with a big heart and a Christian mission is making a difference in one of Africa’s smallest countries.

Headed by Shoreline native and former Fresno Bee reporter Chris Collins, West African Vocational Schools reaches out to young people in Guinea Bissau, a poor country rife with political violence and drug cartels.

WAVS student in auto repair class/WAVS

WAVS is founded on the belief that outside aid alone will not overcome the widespread poverty and instability; instead, the organization believes that educated leaders must transform Guinea-Bissau from within, Collins said in a phone interview.

“WAVS … is really encouraging ethical practices, people who are dedicated to investing in their country,” he said. “The people who are graduating are instilled with skills to be successful, but also ideals to make them strong leaders in the country.”

WAVS runs a school in Canchungo, a city that serves as a regional hub for many other villages, where over 100 students learn important employability skills such as sewing, computer basics, English and auto mechanics.