Maritime worth $30 billion to Washington State economy

NOVEMBER 20, 2013 — The maritime industry in Washington State generated a total of $30 billion in direct, indirect and induced revenues in 2012 and is responsible for over 148,000 workers according to a comprehensive study commissioned by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County with support from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Maritime wages in general are close to or greater than the state median wage of $51,000, averaging $70,800 per year. The industry, as a whole, paid nearly $4 billion in wages in 2012.

The Washington State Maritime Cluster Economic Impact Study conducted by Seattle-based research firm Community Attributes, which included interviews with more than 35 regional leaders in the maritime sector, sought to quantify the impact of the maritime industry across Washington State in order to better understand and strengthen its contribution to the regional economy.

Industry wide, revenues have grown 6.4% per year on average with Maritime Logistics and Shipping seeing the highest growth rate at 10.2%. The job outlook for the sector also appears rosy, with ample opportunities for job seekers. Retaining and recruiting skilled employees is a top priority for the cluster.

"We've long known that the maritime sector is a vital component to the economic strength of the region, but without current and comprehensive data, it was difficult to convey that to the community and prospective businesses in a meaningful way," said Jeff Marcell, President and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. "We worked with our partners to design this study as a way to benchmark the industry and provide a foundation for future efforts to grow the sector throughout the state."

In addition to Maritime Industry leaders, regional stakeholders that provided input for this study include: Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Philips Publishing, City of Seattle, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, King County, Washington Public Ports Association, and Seattle Community Colleges.

Key highlights of the study include:

  • The 2,090 maritime businesses statewide fall into five core subsectors: Passenger Water Transportation; Boat and Ship Building, Repair, and Maintenance; Maritime Logistics and Shipping; Fishing and Seafood Products; and Maritime Support Services.
  • The Industry's reach goes well beyond Western Washington with 139 establishments and 2,200 workers located across eighteen counties in Eastern Washington. The cluster had induced and indirect impacts of an additional $14.8 billion in revenue in Washington State, for a total impact of nearly $30 billion in 2012.
  • For every direct maritime job, an additional 1.6 jobs were supported elsewhere in the state economy, and every $1 million in sales by maritime businesses supported nearly 10 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
  • Fishing and Seafood Processing accounted for nearly 60% of the industry's revenues, with Maritime Logistics and Shipping accounting for another 25%.
  • Industry-wide, revenues have grown 6.4% per year on average with the largest growth rate in Maritime Logistics and Shipping at 10.2%.
  • Maritime occupations most in demand during the next eight years are expected to be: civil engineers; meat and fish cutters and trimmers; sailors and marine oilers; fishers and related fishing workers; laborers and freight, stock and material movers; and captains, mates and pilots.

"The diverse maritime economy is a major jobs engine in Washington, bringing huge revenues into the region," said Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, a member of PSRC's executive board. "These stable, high-wage jobs support a vibrant middle class in our urban communities. If we're serious about saving our middle class, we must advance the needs of the fishing and maritime industries."

Expanded workforce training programs, particularly those in high-need occupations, will have a positive impact on the Maritime Industry's ability to continue its growth as a driver in the regional economy.

"The maritime industry in Washington is historically and economically vital, but its importance is often under recognized. This report clearly shows the sector's importance to the state, local communities, and workers," said Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. "The information in this report will help all stakeholders focus on Maritime's importance, its continued economic vitality, and its workforce pathways to good paying jobs."

The Maritime Industry is primarily an exporter of goods, products and services, and is a net importer of jobs. Its $15.2 billion in direct revenue generated an additional $14.8 billion in indirect and induced revenue in Washington State in 2012. Indirect revenues are associated with first round purchases, through suppliers for example, while induced impacts are generated through labor income and additional jobs, income, and output resulting from the spending of this income.

You can download the study HERE

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