Stronger employment figures and improved housing construction combined to boost forecast revenues in today’s update from Washington’s top economist.
The March revenue forecast tells state legislators, who are getting into serious budget deliberations, that there will be an additional $247 million for the current biennium and $303 million more than originally expected for the 2017-2019 budget period.
Last November’s forecast of employment in the state through February 2017 was almost 28 percent under the actual numbers, as 4,600 more jobs were created than the 16,700 expected. Manufacturing, which had been expected to fall by 3,300, lost only 300 jobs.
The view forward is also being adjusted upward, with employment now forecast to gain 2.3 percent in 2017 for Washington. That rate is likely to moderate as the national economic recovery matures. Nominal personal income growth is projected to be up 5.0 percent this year and average 5.1 percent for the three-year period starting in 2018.
Cumulative real estate excise tax collections came in $63 million (27%) higher than forecast last quarter, largely because of almost $4 billion in large commercial properties last November and December.