Weekly B-MOW: Surveys and More Surveys

Giving the people what they want, it’s time for the second installment of our second feature: Best Meeting of the Week. It’s the chronicles of our adventures in the world of economic development, sharing the most interesting, exciting or unique things that the Prosperity crew is doing. This week’s B-MOW? Two meetings on surveys!

Two of our partner organizations have been hard at work surveying their stakeholders about what’s happening to them in the economy. The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce just conducted its Job Sector Survey, getting 1,200 responses from businesses in the King County about how the economy is impacting them and what was good and bad about doing business here. Impact Washington – formerly Washington Manufacturing Services – finished conducting over 400 in-person interviews with manufacturers around the state, asking very similar questions.

Now, I know that each of them are going to be doing their own launches, and I don’t want to steal their thunder, but I think I can get away with sharing one major take away from each. For the Job Sector Survey, it was the finding that the number one “benefit” to doing business in this region is…quality of life. This is actually something we’ve heard before, but it’s always interesting – especially during a bad economy – to reinforce this idea that people and companies can move anywhere, so they choose to go to places that are enjoyable to live and work. Now clearly, if taxes are crazy high, infrastructure is terrible and there’s no access to capital or contracts, all the quality of life in the world won’t give you a vibrant economy. But I think this is good news for the Cultural Access Fund proposal, heading into a scary legislative session.

The stat in the Impact Washington study is that the manufacturing companies in our state that are doing the best are the manufacturing companies that are exporting. This is music to the ears of President Obama & Gary Locke, not to mention Bruce Katz and Bill Stafford. They’ve all been arguing that more exporting is the key to economic recovery, and it seems like this survey backs them up. Even more important, it say that – if we can get more companies here in Washington to export – that’s a tangible thing that will directly help us grow jobs.

I’ll share the links to both reports when they’re officially released.

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