Recently, the SDOT (the Seattle Department of Transportation) has awarded permits to two private bike-sharing businesses called respectively Spin and LimeBike.
In a matter of hours, a lot of orange Spin bikes were available in the streets of the city for all the wanna-be riders. On the contrary, LimeBike has taken its time to roll out its fleet of lime-green bikes. Sharing a bike is an excellent idea and the program is rather easy to use—the app, that you can download on both iOS and Android, looks for bikes that you can unlock and ride immediately—but not many bikes are available for now and most of them are far away.
“We want to be extra careful and follow a scientific process at the beginning before rolling out the program elsewhere,” they said.
This preliminary process is applied even when they work with smaller communities such as small town or universities where the risks taken are a lot less important than in bigger cities such as Seattle.
“Before taking the idea to the next level, we are looking to be 100% sure that we can manage the day-to-day operations in a smooth manner,” they told us. “Our goal is to apply the same idea to Seattle by applying what was learned in different cities and markets”.
The way it is done is pretty simple: if they can deploy 500 bicycles, they’ll put them mainly in the city center and see what people are doing with them and where they are taking them. It has to be a natural process where bikes flow from one place to the other.
No limits and no boundaries: that’s the way the founders of these bike-sharing companies see things. Just letting the bikes go from one neighborhood to the other and observing customer’s behavior is the best way to learn a lot in a short period of time. The bikes can be dropped off wherever you want to and the only plans made were made based on the available data and predicted usage.
Some people take their bikes to West Seattle or even to neighborhoods that were not even considered before by the initial deployment team. It is a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t work, and also a way to learn about what customers really want. The data collected will be extremely useful when they finally dump 500 bicycles or more in the streets of Seattle. By being responsible and studying carefully the market, they make sure that this upcoming experience will be a success.
According to state Employment Security Department, the unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing for the past 5 months and reached a new low at 5.2% last December.
In a recent press release, Paul Turek, an economist for the department, said that Washington State’s economy is strong and job projections are overwhelmingly positive, at least in the short-term.
There are more and more companies hiring and the economy finished strong by adding 6,700 jobs in December compared to 4,000 jobs the month before.
Unemployment insurance benefits are paid to 70,238 people as of December. The preliminary job estimates have been released. The data comes from the federal bureau of labor statistics and its monthly employment report including seasonally adjusted figures.
Labor force in Washington is increasing
The labor force remains at the same level with 3.69 million people and only 800 less than in november.
The labor force includes all the people over 16, whether they are employed or not.
4 sectors are contracting but 8 are expanding
Employment in private sectors has increased: 7,400 new jobs were created meanwhile government jobs decreased by 700 during the month of December.
Lesiure and Hospitality grew the most at the end of 2016: 3,400 new jobs were created in this sector alone in December.
On top of this, the information industry added 2,500 jobs, retail trade added 2,200 jobs, wholesale trade also grew and added 800 new jobs, while the financial industry added 300. Education, health services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and manufacturing created 200 new jobs each.
Some other services lost jobs such as construction (-400), professional services and government too. Logging and mining remain at similar levels this year.
Yearly growth remains vigorous
Washington State has created around 82,300 new jobs from last December until now if you don’t take into account seasonal adjustment. The public sector is growing at a slower pace than the private sector: 2.5% (14,000 jobs) versus 2.6% (68,300 jobs).
There are 13 different industry sectors in Washington State and from December 2015 to December 2016, 11 of them created new jobs and along with them many opportunities. Traditional industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and logging unsurprisingly reported numerous job losses: respectively 5,900 and 100 jobs lost.
The 3 sectors that have seen the biggest employment growth compared to the years before are:
• Education and health services with 20,800 new jobs;
• Government and Local Administration with14,000 new jobs and
• Hospitality-Leisure-Tourism with 11,300 new jobs