WHAT: The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Luncheon: WorkWell Awards, recognizing local employers who have made a commitment to creating a healthy work environment. Help us celebrate these Pierce County businesses that make health and wellness a priority in their workplaces. Connect with community leaders and get ideas on how you also can create a work culture that promotes healthy lifestyles.
Congratulations to the 2019 WorkWell Award nominees:
The partial federal government shutdown was a last-minute star of the show for those involved in the 2019 Horizons Economic Forecast, held early Wednesday at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.
The annual event, organized by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, brought together economists offering a national and local perspective on the economy, with both mentioning the effect of uncertainty from the current shutdown.
The shutdown also kept U.S. Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer from attending as speakers, as they were both called back to Washington, D.C. Both appeared in video presentations.
The event’s keynote speaker, Jon Haveman, executive director of the National Economic Education Delegation, said that while the U.S. economy has grown, it’s not been enough to make up for lost time from the recession, notably from personal consumption expenditures falling below expected trends.
Tied to that is the fact that national figures on household debt also are down, and we’re saving more, essentially spending less.
Another component is housing investments and expenditures.
“Our population is growing, but our population is also aging,” he said. “The economy is slowing, so the demand for new housing is down.”
Regardless, there’s no sign of a downturn in home prices, Haveman added. “We’re at a point in time in the U.S. economy where it could kind of go either way,” he said.
He cited the need for more workers for available jobs nationwide.
“We’ve got lots of labor on the sidelines that could come in and increase productivity, increase GDP growth,” Haveman said, also noting that tougher immigration policies will have a ripple effect on reducing the labor force, further hurting economic growth.
He ticked off things to worry about: stock market volatility, trade policy uncertainty, immigration policy, the government shutdown and government debt crowding out other spending such as for roads and security.
Neal Johnson, principal of Sound Resource Economics and author of the Pierce County Economic Index, was interviewed by Tom Layson of KBTC’s Northwest Now. Johnson echoed Haveman’s concerns on potential tariffs and their effects on the county’s large trade and transportation sector.
“That’s probably a bigger risk than the government shutdown,” Johnson said. “You might see some slowdown in that sector going forward, but I think overall the county’s robust enough that we would weather that.”
As far as the shutdown’s effect locally, Johnson thought in the short term it would be seen most notably in the retail spending side.
Aside from the D.C. drama, the local economic index projected slower growth for 2019 compared with the previous two years.
Other highlights from the index’s executive summary: ▪ Jobs: Just under 10,000 jobs were created last year in Pierce County, with a projected 9,700 jobs to be added in 2019.
▪ Personal Income: Total real personal income estimated to have grown 4.6 percent in 2018, with the per capita rate of 2.6 percent. For 2019, 3.1 percent increase in total real personal income with a per capita rate of growth at 1.2 percent.
▪ Taxable retail sales: Total taxable retail sales grew 7.4 percent to $17.1 billion in 2018; forecast to increase at an annual rate of 4.1 percent through the end of the year.
▪ Housing and real estate: New listings declined 1.4 percent compared with 2017, closed sales fell 5.2 percent with active listings 13.4 percent lower in the fourth quarter than the previous year. The county’s affordability index also declined through 2018 after a more stable 2017. The affordability index is expected to trend lower for 2019, which indicates even less affordable housing.
“I was kind of surprised that buyers are perhaps a little myopic. They see mortgage rates going up, so they hold off on buying,” Johnson said. “But I think if they look at the data, mortgage rates are likely to continue going up. “So if they’re delaying buying a house with the hopes of getting a lower mortgage rate ... good luck.”
▪ Port of Tacoma, Northwest Seaport Alliance: Combined international and domestic volumes projected to grow 2 percent in 2019. NWSA’s market share for U.S. West Coast international container volume, according to the index, was projected to end 2018 at 13.3 percent, down from 13.4 percent in 2017 and 14.2 percent in 2016.
Johnson, in remarks Wednesday, and the index itself pointed to competition from the Canadian ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver as the root cause of the decline.
TACOMA, Wash. – Every business depends on a healthy local income, a thriving real estate environment, retail growth, B2B opportunities, or our local port, manufacturing, and industry sectors and forecasting the state of the economy is vital to making sound business decisions. You don’t want to miss the 2019 Horizons Economics Forecast Breakfast – Wednesday, January 23rd, 7:00A to 9:00A at Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
Local Economist and Researcher Dr. Neal Johnson of Sound Resource Economics, alongside Tom Layson, Host and Producer of KBTC’s Northwest Now, will be presenting original commissioned research – the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) report -- which forecasts the upcoming economic landscape of Pierce County and what to expect in 2019. Attendees of event will later have all-exclusive access to a website version of the PCEI Report.
Dr. Jon D. Haveman, Executive Director of the National Economic Education Delegation (NEED) will be this year’s national economist. Dr. Haveman has published extensively on a wide variety of economic issues. He also has a lengthy record of publishing articles in the areas of labor and international economics and a work history related to private asset accumulation. A well-known media commentator, Dr. Haveman has been quoted in The Economist, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, and San Jose Mercury News, among many other publications. His radio and television appearances include regular interviews on CBS Channel 5 in San Francisco, and interviews on KCBS AM, KGO AM, and KQED public radio. Dr. Haveman speaks regularly at and has testified at numerous federal and state government hearings on issues related to seaport activity and security, technology trade, and local economic development.
As we prepare to ring in 2019, we would like to highlight our top 10 achievements of 2018:
10 - Chamber Launches New Website To kick-off the new fiscal year, the Chamber launched a new website on October 1, 2018. This mobile-friendly site with easy navigation aims to be a top business resource in the South Sound by providing insightful articles from area experts, instructions on how to maximize your Chamber membership, and much more!
9 - South Sound Summit Reaches New Heights Over 500 area leaders attended the 2nd annual South Sound Summit, featuring keynote speaker Mitch Lowe, Co-Founder of Netflix and CEO of MoviePass. Attendees heard lightning talks called, “Influencers of the South Sound” from local business and community leaders including Congressmembers Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, and Developers Loren Cohen and Mike Absher. Attendees also learned new skills during “Tactical Business Solutions,” where topics including HR, marketing, and tech, were designed to provide practical business applications.
8 - World Trade Center Launches New Export Store The World Trade Center Tacoma Export Store is a Business-to-Business (B2B) Cross-Border e-commerce store hosted on Alibaba.com, the world’s largest B2B e-commerce platform. Local businesses can easily enter foreign markets and showcase their products and services across a network that reaches over 150 countries.
7 - BIA Tacoma Renews for Ten More Years With three decades of experience providing maintenance, security, and cleaning streetscapes in an 84-block district, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tacoma was voted unanimously to be renewed to 2028. This dynamic organization helps keep downtown safe, clean and accessible through security services, graffiti removal, maintenance, and beautification. FAST FACT -- BIA Tacoma made it possible for the Tacoma Link to be a “no-fee” ride!
6 - Spaceworks Increases Entrepreneur Footprint Through Spaceworks Tacoma’s Business Incubator program, the Chamber supported six businesses in a new space and eight more in the business planning stage. The Incubator program provides relevant and meaningful small business training, technical assistance, workshops, coaching, and peer-to-peer support to entrepreneurs creating or growing Tacoma-based businesses.
5 - Veteran Business Service: Job Placements and Chamber Valor of the Year Recipient During five years of partnership with Camo2Commerce, 1,440 servicemembers and spouses were placed in permanent, family-wage jobs. Of these, 99 were placed by the Chamber’s Veteran and Business Services (VBS) team in 2018! As a result of their work supporting our local heroes, the Chamber was honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hiring Our Heroes as the 2018 Chamber Valor of the Year recipient.
4 - A HUGE Win for Business: Interim Regulations Renewed Without Amendments In November 13, Tacoma City Council voted to renew the existing Tideflats Interim Regulations as-is with no amendments, a big WIN for industrial lands in Tacoma which will allow continued growth and investment from our existing businesses.
3 - Sue's Tech Kitchen Comes to Tacoma Randi Zuckerberg, serial entrepreneur and creator of Facebook Live, brought Sue’s Tech Kitchen, a tech-fueled wonderland, to Tacoma. Sue’s Tech Kitchen, which was designed to spark interest in STEM and cutting-edge technology among youth, introduced over 3,000 local kids to binary code, algorithms, chemistry and more during the three-day event at the Armory. FAST FACT -- Tacoma was chosen as one of only nine cities across the country (and was the only west coast location) to host this exclusive event.
2 - Manufacturing Industrial Council Launched The Manufacturing Industrial Council of the South Sound (MIC South Sound) grew from the momentum created by the Place for Job coalition. MIC South Sound is the voice for the manufacturing, industrial, and maritime community and promotes & enhances a positive business climate for manufacturing and related industries. It is dedicated to safeguarding and improving people’s lives, creating a sustainable environment, and providing the jobs that anchor Washington’s economy.
1 - CHAMBER BREAKS THE INTERNET! No Head Tax Here In May 2018, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to implement a Head Tax on employees,penalizing employers in an attempt to balance failed budget policies on the backs of business. This $275 tax per employee on companies grossing at least $20 million per year was bad news for regional economic development. The Chamber reacted quickly, letting Seattle employers know that this is NOT how we do business in Pierce County. The Chamber produced a 30-second video and promoted it heavily across all social media channels. The video, which quickly went viral, championed the region letting everyone know that the South Sound is, “Open for Business.” The Head Tax was quickly recalled by City Council.