Washington gets high marks for innovation and other key areas. But a new study, along with a report from the Legislature, shows the competitive climate is hot.

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Conexus Indiana, a private-sector group, and Ball State University have produced a state-by-state report card on manufacturing and logistics. We can quibble about methodology, but Washington’s grades are mixed.

The good news is we get A grades for productivity and innovation, sector diversification, and human capital. The “expected liability gap” (underfunded bond and pension liabilities) grade is B. The report gave Washington a C in logistics health and tax climate, and a C-plus in global reach — the latter surprised me. Worker benefit costs were F — but this is a two-sided coin, often good for workers.

Washington’s overall manufacturing industry health was B-minus this year vs. a C-plus last year. Alaska got an F; Oregon was B-plus, and Idaho B-minus.

The A students overall were Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and South Carolina. To be fair, comparing high-end Washington to otherwise bleeding Kansas is like comparing apples to burning tires. But we should always note the benchmarks.

Is anybody in a position of power paying attention? I’m glad you asked.

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Economic Resilience of Maritime and Manufacturing in Washington has been studying these issues for two years. Its final report is now out — you can read it here.

In addition to calling for streamlined permitting, better connect between training and job needs, and improving freight movement, the report urges tighter cooperation between local and state jurisdictions. The goal is to produce a strategic plan for the next five years.

The legislation that enabled the Northwest Seaport Alliance is an example of the good that can come from state and local cooperation. So it will be interesting to see how the dialogue over the committee’s recommendations proceeds.


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Goldman and F5

Acquisition and big fees

Seattle deep-sixed