History of Spokane Economic Plans – Part 3 – What They Said Back in 1999

Review Tower

Image by Mike Tigas via Flickr

Interestingly, Spokane had suffered badly in 1999 – adding few jobs to the local economy while the national economy was roaring forwards. The Director of Marketing for the Spokesman-Review, Shaun O.L. Higgins, in his annual state of the local economy presentation, noted that Spokane’s high tech sector had been in decline since the mid 1990s.  (Source: http://www.spokane.net/bus_tech/forecasts/econ/2000AdClubspeech.pdf)

He also noted an on-going problem with Spokane’s marketing efforts being based on  putting lipstick on a pig, rather than confronting and fixing the challenges:

It is safe to assume that we’d have better-paying jobs and quality high-tech jobs if the national job market thought we merited them.  But when our industrial recruiters present our case, we are often found wanting. Rather than blame the recruiters, we need to look seriously at improving the case they have to present.

And he continued on to note:

We should establish a publicly funded, joint city-county Office of Economic Statistics to develop an impartial, reliable, ongoing metrics for planning rather than public-relations purposes.

I could not agree more with his assessment. He is absolutely spot on with the area’s tendency to focus on PR and fluff rather than reality.

He also noted that in 1998, Forbes ranked Spokane 161 out of 162 counties in which to start a tech business, and the Milken Institute ranked Spokane 227 out of 315 MSAs in high tech output growth and said that the lack of high tech growth is “an obstacle to overall economic well-being”.

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