Business

Business news

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.4 percent, according to February’s numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek says an economy in growth mode is luring discouraged jobseekers off the sidelines and swelling the labor pool.

AP Photo

Move over, Hempfest; there’s a new show in town, and on the same weekend.

CannaCon is coming to the Tacoma Dome, and organizers hope to make it the biggest cannabis expo in the country.

“Picture the Seattle Home and Garden Show, but with cannabis,” said Bob Smart, a medical marijuana retailer who is organizing the event with the help of the Marijuana Business Association.

AP Photo

Federal aviation officials say Boeing's design and manufacture of its cutting-edge 787 jetliner is safe despite the many plane's many problems since its rollout.

A report issued jointly by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing on Wednesday says the plane was soundly designed, and that the government had effective processes in place to identify and correct issues that emerged before and after certification. The report makes seven recommendations for further improvements by Boeing and FAA.

Ashley Gross

After working on new regulations for about a year, the Seattle City Council on Monday voted unanimously to limit the number of rideshare drivers who can be active at any one time.

Companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar will be able to each have 150 drivers active on the dispatch system at a given time. Those so-called "transportation network companies" let drivers use their personal vehicles and connect with passengers via smartphone applications.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

More than 150 case managers, therapists and other employees of Behavioral Health Resources have walked off the job for a three-day strike. The agency provides mental-health and substance-abuse services in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor counties, mostly to Medicaid recipients.

The agency is in deep financial straits and had to take out a line of credit to make payroll in December.

Anna King

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk in eastern Washington.

It turns out farmers don't have long enough straws to pump out of the Columbia River now that the water has been lowered there to stabilize the dam.

Ashley Gross

At the beginning of the year, the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac jumped to $15 an hour for workers at large hotels and parking lot companies. But employees at one parking lot business have complained to the city that they still haven’t gotten the raise almost three months later. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The owners of Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle, violated federal labor law, according to an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The landmark that dominates Seattle's skyline is owned by Space Needle LLC, a private company owned by the descendants of the construction entrepreneur Howard S. Wright. The company he founded later built the Space Needle for the 1962 World's Fair. A spokesman says the company plans to appeal the judge's decision.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing says it is inspecting about 40 Dreamliners that may have hairline cracks in their wings. No planes in service are affected; the issue only affects some aircraft still in production.

Company spokesman Doug Alder says the wing manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told Boeing that a change in their manufacturing process may have caused the cracks, which Alder says are very small.

Boeing plans to shift its non-union employees away from a defined benefit pension plan, including about 26,000 workers in the Puget Sound region. 

In January, machinists here narrowly accepted a similar pension freeze to win the 777X production line. Now, Boeing’s including non-union employees in the retirement plan change because the company says its pension obligation is unsustainable.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Business owners, union members, restaurant employees and activists each got two minutes Wednesday night to say their piece about a higher minimum wage in Seattle. The city council and a committee appointed by Mayor Ed Murray held the forum as they weigh possibly hiking the wage floor to $15 an hour. 

AP Photo

 (Editor's note: This has been updated to include Conway's analysis on the minimum wage that he presented in his March 2014 issue of The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster.)

For hours on Wednesday, people spoke up both for and against the proposal to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. At 60 percent higher than the state’s current minimum wage, it’s an eye-popping number. 

But well-known regional economist Dick Conway says the figure is not so crazy.

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

It took four years, but Washington has now recovered more jobs than it lost during the Great Recession. But Wednesday’s announcement comes with a caveat.

Molly Riley / AP Photo

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says he supports the idea of a higher minimum wage, but he wouldn’t comment on whether Seattle’s proposed rate of $15 per hour makes sense. Perez made the comments during a visit to Boeing’s Renton factory Monday.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Income inequality in the U.S. is at its highest point in 85 years, and politicians are debating ways to raise the living standard for low-wage workers. Globalization, technology and deregulation are often cited as factors behind the widening income gap. But Jake Rosenfeld at the University of Washington says there’s one cause that’s often overlooked: the decline of organized labor.

Pages