Economy news grab bag: Small-business employment and who's moving in and out of the state.

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Curse you, blue-state hellhole! With all those taxes and regulations and … sputter … Seattle — killing entrepreneurship. Oh, wait.

A new report from Paychex, which surveys 350,000 small firms nationally, finds that Washington ranked second behind Tennessee in small-business employment strength in December. Seattle ranked No. 1 among metros. This continues a trend of strong showings. Small businesses are defined as those that employ fewer than 50 workers.

These kind of lists, which arrive in journalists’ inboxes with great frequency, need to be taken with some grains of salt. But the Paychex survey size is respectable. And this goes along with many other studies showing the vibrancy of the metro and state economy here.

The more interesting result is a noticeable slowdown in small business nationally. The Paychex index, which measures year-over-year changes in employment at small outfits, has remained below the growth level of 100 since July. Before this decline, the index hadn’t been below 100 since 2011, when the economy was digging out of the Great Recession.

I don’t know if that’s a canary in the America First coal mine. But it got my attention.

• ANOTHER MARKER: Washington ranked No. 6 among the most popular destinations last year in the National Movers Study by United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household-goods mover. A total of 59 percent of moves were inbound, so more people are coming here than leaving. Vermont, Oregon and Idaho were the top three. Illinois topped the “outbound” leaders.

A similar report from Atlas Van Lines placed Washington No. 2, with 4,096 inbound moves vs. 2,455 outbound. It was a post-recession record of newcomers. In 2008, only 2,913 moved in. Idaho ranked first.

While we’re on the subject of movers, if you haven’t read this amazing look at the life of an elite moving-truck driver, I highly recommend it. This is one of the best personal essays I’ve read lately.


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Petrobas must pay

To settle corruption suit

Thank you, oh deep state