Washington Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.8% in November from 8.2% in October

 
 

Good news from the Employment Security Department:

 

OLYMPIA – Washington’s estimated unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 7.8 percent in November, landing below 8 percent for the first time since January 2009, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.

The drop from 8.2 percent in October was the largest one-month decline since November 1977.

At the same time, nonfarm employment continued to climb, with an estimated net gain of 1,600 jobs last month, seasonally adjusted.

“Job growth appeared to slow in November, but the trend of the last three months is very positive,” said Joe Elling, chief labor economist for Employment Security.

He noted that average monthly growth from August to November was 5,400. If maintained for a year, it would result in a growth rate of 2.3 percent.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in November were retail trade, which added 2,500 jobs; construction, up 1,400; leisure and hospitality, up 1,200; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 800; education and health services, up 600; other services, up 600; and manufacturing, up 400.

Industries with job losses last month included professional and business services, down 2,900; financial activities, down 1,300; wholesale trade, down 1,000; and government, down 800 jobs.

Within the government sector, state agencies lost an estimated 900 jobs, public higher education declined by 1,000 jobs, K-12 schools added 600, local government added 400, and federal employment grew by an estimated 100 jobs.

Across all sectors, Washington’s seasonally adjusted employment has grown by about 122,000 jobs, out of a recession loss of about 205,000 jobs.

In November, an estimated 270,000 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 135,985 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

Also in November, 5,326 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 121,273 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

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.