economic workforce strategic assessment study cai community attributes inc soundside alliance

Workforce Economic Study

This Soundside Alliance Economic and Workforce Strategic Assessment presents an analysis of the region’s demographic, economic and workforce development assets and trends, as well as its role relative to the larger regional economy.  It is intended to help residents, policymakers and other stakeholders understand the challenges and opportunities associated with the unique communities and businesses in the area and their relative position in the regional economy.

This analysis provides decision makers with perspective and context for further development of an action oriented economic redevelopment plan. The information in this report will be used to inform forthcoming workshops, strategies and visioning efforts.

The following is the Executive Summary.  Click HERE to view or download the full report as a PDF.

Employment Trends

  • In 2013, the five city Soundside region included a total of 93,400 jobs. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 3.9% from 2012 and 0.7% from 2004.
  • Employment in the region is expected to grow. Employment is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.3% between 2010 and 2040, faster than the growth rate of the larger Puget Sound region as a whole (1.6%).
  • Within the Soundside region, employment is forecast to grow faster (2.3%) than population (1.7%).
  • Employment in the region is distributed across diverse industries.  Leading industries include services (39% of total jobs) and warehousing, transportation and utilities (21% of total jobs).
  • The Seattle Tacoma International Airport is an important anchor and key driver of the regional economy.  Jobs related to the airport constitute 20% of the Soundside region’s employment.   The airport supports jobs in warehousing, transportation and utilities as well as ancillary activities such as hotel accommodations and services.   For example, nearly a quarter (24%) of all hotel rooms in King County is located in the Soundside region.
  • In addition to the airport, geographic concentrations of jobs include industrial anchors in north Tukwila and retail and commercial anchors in south Tukwila around the Westfield Southcenter Mall.
  • Industrial jobs in north Tukwila adjoin the Duwamish manufacturing and industrial area in Seattle and is part of a regional industrial corridor. Designated as the North Tukwila Manufacturing/Industrial Center (MIC) the Tukwila part of this corridor contains approx. 13,500 jobs.

Demographic Trends

  • In 2014, there were 131,475 people living in the Soundside region.  This represents a growth of 0.7% from 2012 and a growth of 19% from 2004.
  • Population is forecast to grow. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of .74% between 2014 and 2040.
  • The cities of the Soundside region, with the exception of Normandy Park, share certain demographic characteristics.  These characteristics include lower incomes, lower educational attainment and a higher percentage of minorities and foreign-born residents than the central Puget Sound region as a whole.
  • The Soundside region has a larger proportion (27%) of its residents earning incomes below 30k than the Eastside (13%), South King
    County (23%), King County (20%) and the Puget Sound region (20%).
  • The Soundside region has a higher proportion of people without a High School degree (21%) than the Eastside cities (7%), South King
    County (17%), King County (13%) or the Puget Sound region (13%).  In addition, a smaller proportion (33%) of the region’s residents hold college degrees.
  • The Soundside region has a higher proportion (27%) of foreign-born residents than South King County (22%), King County (21%) and
    the larger Puget Sound region as a whole (18%). The proportion of the region’s population that is foreign-born is similar to the  Eastside cities.
  • The Soundside region has a higher proportion of residents at or below the poverty level (18%) than the Eastside cities (6%), South
    King County (14%), King County (11%) and the Puget Sound region (11%).
  • The Soundside region is racially and ethnically diverse.  Regionwide, about 39% of residents identify themselves as non-white. This proportion has grown in the last decade, reflecting a national trend toward increasing racial and ethnic diversity. The Soundside region is ahead of the Puget Sound region in this trend, and has a larger minority population than the Puget Sound region (27% non-white).
  • Regionwide about 17% identify themselves as of Hispanic origin, a higher proportion than the Eastside (7%), King County (9%) or the
    Puget Sound region (9%). This proportion is similar to South King County’s share (17%).

Key Industries

Major employers in the Soundside region are in the Warehousing, Transportation & Utilities (WTU) industry. The Soundside region includes more warehousing and transportation jobs (more than 15,200) than anywhere else in the central Puget Sound region.  14% percent of all WTU jobs across central Puget Sound region and 19% of all WTU jobs in King County are clustered here.  The Soundside region enjoys a competitive advantage for these jobs with a location quotient of 2.2.

The manufacturing industry, especially related to aviation, is another key industry for the region.  Many employers in this industry are small and medium size companies related to the aerospace sector.

In addition to these two industries, hospitality is a major industry in the Soundside region. Nearly a quarter (24%) of all hotel rooms in King County are located in the Soundside region.

Within the Soundside region, Warehousing, Social Assistance (especially healthcare assistants), manufacturing, food services and retail trade occupations are expected to have the greatest demand.

Of these, warehousing, manufacturing and social assistance (especially healthcare) occupations pay relatively higher wages than food services or retail trade.

Warehousing and manufacturing jobs are accessible to people without a college degree, or people facing language barriers or other barriers to entry. These jobs provide higher wages, and greater benefits and advancement opportunities than other jobs available to low-skilled workers.

These two industries represent potential target sectors for the region to focus its workforce training efforts on.

Implications for Economic & Workforce Development

Several core topics surfaced from the analysis of the Soundside region.  The following represent defining issues and opportunities:

  1. Growing and retaining businesses and employment across the Soundside’s most competitive and desired industry clusters.
  2. Up-skilling and re-skilling to match skill-sets of a diverse workforce to the needs of the Soundside’s key industries.
  3. In economic development terms, communities and regions are, in a sense, “products” in competition with one another for businesses, residents and visitors.  Strategies should address developing and applying a compelling identity & brand to set Soundside apart as an
    economic hub for the region.
  4. Identify, prioritize and incentivize strategic and catalytic real estate and infrastructure development opportunities that can best leverage public dollars with private dollars, and support economic development goals.
  5. Support the creation of a high-quality public realm, parks and open space, and good design that attracts visitors and residents to
    Soundside community businesses.

This Economic and Workforce Strategic Assessment will provide context to help identify key challenges and opportunities for each of these topics that will then inform economic and workforce development strategies.