2013 Spokane Bloomsday Run Total Participants and Historical Trend

(5/6/2013 Watch for a newer version of this coming out soon – with more interesting facts and charts!)

2013 Spokane Bloomsday Running Race Event

As of May 4th, the Spokesman-Review reports an estimate of 51,000 registrations expected. On May 5th, KREM reports 48,000 registrations.

On April 29th and again on April 30th,KHQ reported over 60,000 people would finish the race, which has never happened in the event’s history and considering the trend, seems unlikely.

In the chart below, 2013 is estimated at 51,000 per the Spokesman-Review and the number of finishers is estimated based on the ratio of completions in 2012. This chart will be updated when final numbers are available.

Update: Final number of registrations came in at 51,950. Based on that, I estimate 46,930 finishers. 

Nice shirts 🙂

chart_1Not to be out done by KHQ making up the 60,000 finishers number, KXLY falsely reports “Bloomsday 2013, as is the case with years past, is bigger and better than ever“.

Perhaps better but definitely not bigger!

Spokane Employment/Unemployment, Real Estate and Airport Usage Trends

Spokane Unemployment

Unemployment rises to 9.1% in May.

Total non-farm employed improves slightly but remains on par with year 2005 levels – while the overall population has increased.

Data source for charts

Real Estate and More after the break

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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”.

Spokane Poverty Rates

While poverty has been decreasing in Washington State, in recent years Spokane County’s the poverty rate has been increasing. There is a relationship between high school drop out rates and poverty – also see “1 in 3 Spokane High School Students Drop Out“.

In these charts, the yellow line corresponds to the City of Spokane, the red line to the County, and the dark blue line corresponds to Washington State.

Data Source: Community Indicators of Spokane

Zoom in on the most recent years to highlight the problem:

Poverty and school drop out rates are related. Some interesting comments from retiring Community Colleges of Spokane Chancellor Dr. Gary Livingston, here, in the Spokesman-Review newspaper (July 26, 2010):

We have to invest both in the students who are going through now – who didn’t come in ready to learn – and have to do it at a preschool level. So we’ll have to pay twice for a while, to help prepare students better. The (problem of not being ready for school) is a significant reflection of poverty in this area. And candidly, our community is getting poorer, not wealthier.

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