State job growth continues, but at a snail's pace

 
 

 

Washington State added 3,600 jobs in June from the month before reflecting 10 consecutive months of job growth, according to  the Washington State Employment Security Division. The new numbers include a revision to last month’s report to show that the state had added 2,500 jobs in May, instead of the originally reported loss of 700 jobs.

The private sector was the biggest contributor to job growth, adding 6,600 jobs in May, including 3,700 jobs in “other services” (includes things like equipment repair, pet care and parking services); 1,300 in manufacturing (mostly aerospace); 1,300 in transportation, warehousing and utilities; 1,200 in professional and business services; and 1,200 in wholesale trade. The private sector added a total of 57,800 jobs in the 12 months ended June 30.

Even so, unemployment in June rose to 9.2 percent, from  9.1 percent in May. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area, unemployment rose to 8.8 percent in June, from 8.7 percent the month before.

Dave Wallace, the acting chief economist at the Washington State Employment Security Division, said the state would have to add 3,600 jobs each month for a full year to decrease unemployment by one percentage point.  

One problem is job losses in the government sector where employment fell by 3,000. For the full year, the sector lost 15,000 jobs. Also showing declines were construction, down 1,800; financial activities, down 1,100; and education, down 1,000.

Despite the weak performance, some experts see improvement ahead. A net 11 percent of Washington executives plan to add full-time staff in the third quarter, and 98 percent of Washington executives surveyed are confident in their companies’ growth prospects, according to the Robert Half Professional Employment Report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Reflection: Corporate Game Changer

On Reflection: Corporate Game Changer

Gamification software from a UW startup makes biz-school case studies more authentic.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Imagine you’re the CEO of an airline in crisis. Customers and shareholders are unhappy. Your employees have just gone on strike. What do you do? Give in to union demands? Hold your ground and negotiate? Fire all the employees? 

It’s the first of a cascading set of decisions you must make in The Signature Case Study, a new interactive game developed by Seattle-based Recurrence (recurrenceinc.com) in partnership with the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking (CLST). Players take one of five C-suite roles and each player’s decision changes the options available to the others and affects their total scores based on employee, shareholder and customer satisfaction.

The Signature Case Study takes the case-study method, a paper-based system pioneered by the Harvard Business School, and uses game techniques to make it more entertaining and accessible while also giving students and teachers immediate feedback on the quality of their decision making.

Data on 19 variables derived from real airlines on things like lost luggage, fuel costs, stock prices and customer satisfaction are built into algorithms that drive the game and can result in thousands of academically validated outcomes.

CEO and co-inventor Brayden Olson named the company after Friedrich Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence, the notion that all life will repeat itself through eternity. The interactive case study, he says, allows people to learn from mistakes and develop critical thinking skills that improve their judgment so they won’t make similar mistakes in real life.

While traditional case studies depend heavily on the skills of professors to engage students, The Signature Game Study’s software uses game elements to require interactivity, says co-inventor Bruce Avolio, a professor of management at the UW’s Foster School of Business and executive director of CLST.

The game shows players how decisions made early on can narrow their course of action down the road. They also learn the importance of teamwork to overcome the toughest challenges. “Great games can be both more fun and more challenging,” says Avolio, who sits on Recurrence’s board of directors.

The product, released early this year, has already been adopted at more than 30 schools, including the UW, Stanford, Penn State, Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas, to teach leadership, organizational behavior and strategy. The cases sell for $47.50 per student; Recurrence is looking to add cases in areas such as operations, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. It’s also working with the University of Alabama nursing school to develop a case study to teach such skills as diagnosis and health care management.

With more than 15,000 business schools in the world, Olson says the market is huge. He notes that publishers of printed case studies are selling 12 million a year, but they recognize that the interactive case study is the future and are looking for Recurrence’s assistance in developing them.