State economic growth is strengthening, new state forecast concludes

Mar 18, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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Washington State’s economic growth is strengthening thanks to federal stimulus legislation and the increased pace of Covid vaccinations, according to a new state revenue report.

Total state revenues are forecast to grow 13.6% between the 2017-19 and 2019-21 biennia and by 8.2% between the 2019-21 and 2021-23 biennia, the Economic Revenue Forecast Council reported this week.

The 45-page report pegged the February state unemployment rate at 5.6%, down from an all-time high of 16.3% in April 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic was identified in the state and mandatory business shutdowns followed.

Forecasted state revenues now are at $50.04 billion for the current biennium, $54.37 billion for 2021-23 and $57.78 billion for the 2023-25 biennium. Without going into details, the report noted that retail sales have been higher than expected since last November.

The quarterly reports typically include positives and warnings looking ahead for the economy.

This report cited the positives as substantial federal stimulus payments, faster than expected vaccine distribution and strong retail sales and real estate transactions. The warnings included slower employment growth to date than expected, current safety protocols that limit business activity, the uncertainty of the pandemic and related infections and rising oil and gasoline prices.

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