Washington Unemployment Drops to 8.2 Percent

 
 

Washington’s job seekers got bitter sweet news from the state’s Employment Security Department in February.  The state added 4,200 jobs, which is good news, but the new jobs are likely to trigger a cut in federal unemployment benefits.

 

The new jobs pushed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 8.2 percent in February, from 8.4 percent in January. That's the lowest it's been since January 2009, when it was 7.7 percent, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.

 

The top growth sectors were:

 

  • Leisure and hospitality, up 2,500 jobs,  
  • Construction, up 1,900 jobs,
  • Retail trade, up 1,700 jobs,
  • Transportation warehousing and utilities up 1,500 jobs and
  • Professional and business services up 1,100 jobs.

 

As hiring increased, unemployment benefits are slated to decrease, since the two variables are connected, under the federal benefits-extension programs.  

 

Beneficiaries are likely to see their maximum number of weeks on the program drop from 99 to 73 in mid- to late April, according to the Employment Security Department. The same department plans to release more details about the trimming, as it gets official notice from the federal Department of Labor.

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.