In addition to yesterday's news about an extra $231 million in revenues, the the Economic Revenue and Forceast Council's report came with some noteworthy data about the economy.
For starters, you're right if you think all the cranes you're seeing in Seattle are good news. The report says: "Housing hasn’t been this strong in Washington since the fourth quarter of 2007." And by housing, they mean multi-family units ... in Seattle (the housing market has been flat statewide, and a spokesman at ERFC tells me Seattle's hot market accounts for the statewide numbers.)
The report says: "Single-family permits averaged 18,900 units in the first quarter of 2013, slightly below our forecast of 19,500 units, but multi-family permits came in at 17,200 units which was much higher than our forecast of 14,100 units. Multi-family permits have recovered from unprecedented lows to where they are now in a normal range. Single-family permits still have a long way to go."
In other (potentially) urbanist trends: Car sales, after a big jump early in the year, reversed, dropping 8.9 percent in the spring from a January high."Housing hasn’t been this strong in Washington since the fourth quarter of 2007."
However, the report, noting that there was an uptick in May, concluded: "We believe the trend in car and truck sales is still positive, driven by replacement demand."
However, Seattle remained slightly above average (when compared to other U.S. cities) when it came to inflation. The CPI increased 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 vs. the national city average of .5 percent. And the narrower measure of core inflation increased 2 percent vs. the national average of 1.8 percent. These early numbers (so, you can't make too much of them) were consisent with last year's data, which also showed Seattle core inflation slightly higher than the national average: 2.5 percent vs. 2.1 precent.
Seattle's numbers, driven by housing construction, are saving the statewide outlook in this other important category.
Overall, thanks to a downturn in aerospace jobs—there are 900 fewer aerospace jobs than there were in December and the state is now predicting a decline of 3,500 aerospace jobs between 2012 and 2013 compared to the 1,300 reduction they'd initially anticiapted—Washington state's employment numbers are not meeting expectations.