Spokane Medical School postponed by 10 to 20 years?

Sold locally as a done deal, the Spokane medical school now looks like it will open about the same time the North South Corridor [1] freeway is completed, meaning, perhaps some time in the 21st or may be 22nd century:

Washington State University Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown told the panel that a second publicly funded medical school is coming in the next 10 to 20 years, and “I believe it should be in Spokane.”

via Medical school task force convenes – Spokesman.com – April 22, 2014.

Did you know that Spokane once had a medical school? Two of them in fact!

Sort of. Both were frauds, which is fitting for the Scam and Fraud Capitol of the America:




Reminder: the claimed $1.6 billion economic impact due to a Spokane medical school is a wild stretch. The economic study that arrived at the $1.6 B figure was for a comprehensive health science program, including nursing, pharmacy, medicine and other activities. The medical school impact is a minor part of the total (see the link, above). Half of the economic impact is due to the ordinary growth of the health care industry in Eastern Washington – and this was included in the $1.6 B figure by assuming the growth would occur solely due to the health science campus. Why not just say that the $1.6 B economic impact is due solely to the construction of a heated pedestrian/bike bridge?

In Spokane, concepts like reality or truth or very flexible concepts.

[1] The North South Corridor freeway is presently an unfinished “North North” freeway that goes from nowhere to somewhere. Conceived in 1946, it might be completed by 2046.

Keywords: Spokane medical school, wsu, uw, washington, university, health science, bloomsday, lilac, festival, parade

Spokane Area Economic Update Charts

(Update: By request I have turned comments back on for some recent posts. They were turned off, mostly, a year ago, since I spend little time on the blog now, and comments require monitoring. Hope that helps and thank you for your suggestions, ideas and corrections.)

The State’s “adjusted” employment data for Spokane County (thru November 2012) shows an upward spike:


The US government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics “raw” data for Spokane County  (through November) shows a subdued seasonal rise in jobs. (Data is from the US BLS “One Screen” database). In a traditional post recession recovery, we should be seeing a job growth rate similar to how it was before the recession took hold (pre-2008).


Hospital, Manufacturing, Education, Convention Center Attendance and More, after the break …

Read more of this post

Affordable Care Act may harm Spokane’s economy

There is an assumption that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare[1]) will lead to an increase in health care usage and this will be a boost to Spokane’s economy, which has a large health care segment.

Based on recent news reports, ObamaCare might be an economic mess for Spokane as there are forecasts that low wage jobs will see loss of employer provided health care benefits. That does mean this will happen for sure – it is just one hypothesis that some have proposed. Read the full set of headlines, below (and click through to read the original articles). Updates are added at the top of the list as recent news seems to confirm this trend.

Updates December 2013:

Updates April 24 2013:

Since this was originally written:

Updates Feb 5-9 2013:

Original Items

How might this impact Spokane? Read more after the break…

Radiation Monitoring in Spokane

Hey – its a chart! Spokane, WA Real Time US Gamma And Beta Radiation Monitoring 

Why the recent spike in radiation?

Read more of this post

Spokane MSA health care employment continues to shrink

Health care services is supposed to be the future of economic growth in Spokane. A new medical school is alleged to create billions in economic growth, for example. But look at what is happening in Spokane MSA health care employment – the number of jobs are in a steady decline, perhaps a steepening decline.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. Their data table combines health care and some education sector jobs – but not public schools, which are the largest component of the education sector.

Anyone else a bit nervous about this trend?

Spokane’s Deep Recession Continues in 2012

The current estimate for non-farm employment as of April 2012 is for 204,200 jobs. As you can see in this chart and data table from the State’s Employment Security Department, this is the lowest number of non-farm jobs since the recession started for April.

Stated another way, Spokane remains stuck in a down sliding economy four years after the recession began and 3 years after the recession ended at the national level. Read the April line from left to right, and then add the latest number: 204,200.

The inability of the Spokane area to create new jobs is shown graphically in this chart of percentage  year over  year job changes, from 2005 to 2012. As you can see,  job growth began falling as far back as 2005. Now that the recession has officially ended at the national level, close to zero new job positions have been created in the Spokane region.

Health care employment, when broken out separately, also continued to slide since last year. The health care category has declined from 34,100 last year to 32,800 this year, or a decline of 3.8%. Spokane leaders have proclaimed Spokane’s future to be centered on regional health care delivery.

Update May 28, 2012

This is not a valid survey but I scanned the Craigslist ads on Memorial Day and there are quite a few more job openings across a wide variety of fields. This is very encouraging – I have not seen this growth in Craigslist job openings in several years.

Spokane County health care industry employment trend

As you know, Spokane’s main growth industry is health care and our region’s future is now tied to a regional health care economy and a new academic health science center that will generate thousands of jobs and create billions of dollars in economic activity.

Here is a chart of the combined health care + non-government education sector employment in Spokane County, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, they combine the health care and education industries together, although private education makes hardly a blip in the total. Data is through March of 2012.

This category stopped growing in early 2009 and has been falling steadily ever since. 

Related, in Davenport, Lincoln Hospital nursing home and the Vista Manor Assisted Living Center in Wilbur are both being shut down and the workers laid off.