After a fairly robust 2019, slower economic growth is anticipated for the Tacoma-Pierce County region for 2020.
That seems to be the overriding message in this year’s Pierce County Economic Index report, presented this week at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chambers’s Horizons Economic Forecast breakfast at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.
The report, pulled together by Neal Johnson of Sound Resource Economics, is compiled annually. Last year’s presentation emphasized uncertainty given the partial government shutdown at the time. This year’s report shows 2019 actually offered areas of surprising growth.
"Income growth in 2020 is forecast to continue, with a 3.2 percent increase in total real personal income and a 1.2 percent gain in real personal income per capita.”
It also notes “a likely decrease in the number of workers who are employed only part-time for economic reasons, which has continued to see declines at the state level.”
WHERE IS EVERYONE WORKING?
There’s no question job creation is happening here and elsewhere, much of it in King County.
Overall, just about half of employed residents from Pierce County work somewhere else, and lower housing costs here may continue reinforcing the live here, work somewhere else motif.
About 35 percent of Pierce County’s employed residents worked in King County in 2017, the latest year for data, according to the report.
“The big surprise in the 2018 labor data was the relatively weak growth in both the labor force (up 2.1 percent) and the number of employed Pierce County residents (up 2.3 percent) compared to the higher 2.7 percent growth in in-county jobs,” the report states. “This was reversed in 2019, with a 4.0 percent jump in the labor force and a 3.8 percent increase in the number of employed Pierce County residents, with in-county jobs increasing only 1.9 percent.”
With more people looking for work here, the county has struggled competing with its neighbor to the north in terms of job creation.
“Pierce County’s ratio of jobs to employed residents, which increased from 2010 to 2015, has since trended downwards,” the report states. “While the long-term trend for Pierce County has been a gradual increase in this ratio, indicating more local jobs available per Pierce County worker, the recent trend likely indicates local job creation is being swamped by the higher job growth outside of the county.”
Construction saw the most jobs added, 1,700. Leisure and hospitality along with professional and business services sectors each added 1,400 jobs, with growth slowing in trade, transportation and utilities, government, and education and health services, which combined added 1,000 jobs in 2019, according to the report.
“While in-county job growth is expected to continue, it will be at a slower rate, with approximately 6,225 jobs added in 2019 and another 5,300 forecast for 2020, bringing Pierce County nonfarm employment to 335,000 by the end of 2020,” the report states. “The number of employed Pierce County residents grew by an impressive 15,100, or 3.8 percent, in 2019. The forecast for 2020 is for 3.0 percent growth, with the total number of employed reaching 439,300 by the fourth quarter of 2020.”
“The higher employment gains relative to in-county job growth runs counter to the nearly equal jobs and employment growth seen in 2018.”
Other report highlights:
Concerns over tariffs and retaliatory tariffs kept recession fears lingering in 2019 but also kept 30-year mortgage rates low. Those looking for homes in Pierce County faced a drop in new listings for inventory compared with 2018, along with rising home prices here (though still much lower than in King County). Permits for new construction for homes and multifamily units in the county also were down a combined 3.7 percent through November.
An estimated population increase of more than 17,300 per year for 2019 and 2020 by the index “will continue to keep rental rates above an inflationary increase.”
THE PORT OF TACOMA
The port, operating as part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance with the Port of Seattle, definitely has taken its hits when it comes to international tariff battles.
According to the report: “While a threat of further tariffs has been withdrawn, and tariffs have been reduced, some of the impact has been built into the current trade flow and the impact is likely to linger through 2020. Consequently, 2020 container volumes are likely to be significantly lower than forecast.”
In regard to other competitors, “Based on traffic data through November 2019, the NWSA’s share of West Coast container traffic is projected to edge back up to 13.4 percent for the full year. Whether the Canadian ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver resume capturing market share is a bit clouded due to the U.S. tariffs.”
Auto imports for 2019 are projected to increase by approximately 30.8 percent from 2018, and rise again (though not as much) in 2020.
2019 grain exports are estimated to drop 30.9 percent compared with 2018, “directly attributable to China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. grains. The NWSA’s forecast calls for no change in 2020.”
Another export has seen dramatic change, as the report noted: “Log exports through the Port of Tacoma have ceased due to high tariffs. 2019 volumes are expected to be 15.2 million board feet, down 34.4 percent from 2018, with the NWSA forecasting no log exports in 2020.”
Original Source: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article239324023.html
Written by: Debbie Cockrell, Tacoma News Tribune
Photo credit: South Sound Business - https://southsoundbiz.com/made-in-the-south-sound-making-it-rite/
Online portal streamlines access to preliminary regulatory requirements for manufacturers looking to site or expand in Sumner and unincorporated Pierce County
OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today launched Regulatory Roadmap 2.0, the latest addition to a series of localized online portals designed to help ease the process of getting preliminary regulatory requirements satisfied for expanding or siting a new facility. The new online portal guides manufacturing firms through the review process for siting feasibility in Sumner and unincorporated areas of Pierce County, with Tacoma soon to follow.
The new portal builds upon the success of the state Regulatory Roadmap program’s original manufacturing roadmaps, which guided businesses step-by-step through the regulatory process using downloadable spreadsheets. These legacy roadmaps were launched by the cities of Arlington, Lynnwood and Marysville.
Other Regulatory Roadmaps provide a range of online tools for restaurant owners in Seattle, Spokane, Spokane Valley and Tacoma, and for residential contractors in the city of Kennewick.
The newest online portal, which is accessible at http://RegulatoryRoadmap.wa.gov, allows manufacturers to walk through the review of regulatory requirements interactively, including searching by location and property use. Applicable zoning, high-level considerations and thresholds for different topics appear within the portal, streamlining the discovery phase of site selection.
“One of our core goals was to develop a Regulatory Roadmap that could be customized for specific jurisdictions yet be flexible enough for us to add additional locations and industries as it’s scaled,” said Commerce director Lisa Brown. “This creates a one-stop website that incorporates regulatory information for multiple agencies, allowing business owners to evaluate the feasibility of a particular location using a single online portal.”
Pierce County and Sumner officials played central roles in developing the new portal, serving as launch partners and providing guidance, expertise and resource support through development, testing and launch.
“With new, more powerful tools, Pierce County is better positioned to compete for the jobs and investments that are vital to the economic vitality of our communities,” said Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Executive. “Strong web tools create a critical pathway for companies seeking a great place to do business. Now, companies can find a suitable location with our site finder at InvestPierceCounty.com and then make smart decisions regarding the next steps with RegulatoryRoadmap.wa.gov.”
“Anything we can do to make a complicated process easier is wonderful,” said Sumner Mayor Bill Pugh. “Sumner houses the largest manufacturing industrial center in the county as well as a classic Main Street, with unique local shops. All kinds of businesses will benefit from learning quickly what we have to offer here in Sumner and if it fits their needs.”
“The Manufacturing Regulatory Roadmap will help site selectors, business owners, and decision makers evaluate industrial sites in Pierce County. This tool adds tremendous value by taking the guesswork out of whether a project is permitted,” said Bruce Kendall, president and CEO of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. “The EDB and our partners are excited to help launch this tool and provide another valuable resource for our business community.”
Regulatory Roadmaps were created to streamline the regulatory experience for businesses. Knowing that most businesses conduct site selection long before they actually engage regulatory agencies, Commerce partnered with local agencies to create Roadmaps that provide valuable information for planning and assessing a project before taking on the time and cost to complete permitting and regulatory processes with a jurisdiction.
Commerce is optimistic that more jurisdictions will see the value in these planning tools and consider additional Roadmaps in other communities and for other industries.
“Working together with our local government and industry partners, we are strengthening communities by making it easier to do business and create jobs in Washington,” Brown said.
Contact :Barbara Dunn - Washington State Department of Commerce
Communications Director, (360)725-2805 | Mobile/text: (360) 481-3320
Chamber Luncheon, featuring the WorkWell Awards is a Chamber awards program designed to recognize local employers who are committed to addressing workforce health issues.
The Chamber celebrates strides Pierce County businesses are taking to make health and wellness a priority in the workplace. Congratulations to this year’s nominees:
Award presentation will be on Friday, February 14th - 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the Pacific Grill Events Center.
Jeff Roe, President & CEO, Premera Blue Cross
The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County have an ongoing leadership role in the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership - SSMCP whose purpose is to foster communication, understanding and mutual benefit of military, and civilian communities.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is our region’s largest employer and economic driver so having an understanding of its economic impact is critical.
We encourage you to participate in this short 3-minute survey. This survey seeks to identify the military-connected customer bases of local businesses and the effects of JBLM on the local economy. Your input and participation will help inform regional public policy and investments.
Link to the survey: https://uwt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8jFxbOPARn6iHB3
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7th, 2020
TACOMA, Wash. – Many businesses depend on a healthy local economy. In the South Sound, businesses also rely on a healthy and reliable global economy. Information on where each is headed is vital for making sound business decisions. At the 2020 Horizons Economic Forecast, we will have information on both, including specifics on the real estate environment, retail growth, and B2B opportunities, as well as our local port, manufacturing, and industry. You don’t want to miss the 2020 Horizons Economics Forecast Breakfast – Wednesday, January 15th, 7:00A to 9:00A at the 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, and a local panel which includes climate of our workforce, development projects update, and the future of housing will be presenting original commissioned research, the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) report, the panel will forecast the upcoming economic landscape of Pierce County and what to expect in 2020. Attendees of the event will later have all-exclusive access to a website version of the PCEI Report.
Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be this year’s keynote speaker. Neil Bradley has spent two decades working directly with congressional committee chairpersons and other high-ranking policymakers to achieve solutions. At the Chamber, Bradley is responsible for aligning the organization’s overall policy priorities and advocacy efforts. He oversees several major policy divisions within the Chamber: Economic Policy; Employment Policy; Small Business Policy; and Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Policy. Health Policy, Transportation Infrastructure Policy, and Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Policy are also under his leadership.
Visit http://bit.ly/2020-Horizons for more information on the event, speakers, and sponsors.
President & CEO
Tacoma Pierce County Chamber
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