Commentary by Kris Johnson
The coronavirus pandemic has proven us how straightforward it’s to take issues with no consideration. Household barbecues, baseball video games and children going to high school are only a few examples.
As a few of our previous lifestyle comes again this spring, it’s price noting one other factor that’s straightforward to take with no consideration: Washington’s robust manufacturing and know-how sectors.
A brand new AWB report reveals how these two areas present a dependable basis for our state’s total success, from nice paying jobs to billions in state income. As state and federal lawmakers work to assist us bounce again from COVID-19, it’s vital to assist insurance policies that assist these sectors thrive.
Manufacturing alone employed greater than 300,000 staff in 2019, which is 9 p.c of the state’s nonfarm workforce, the report by Excessive Peak Technique reveals. These jobs pay effectively, with common wages of greater than $81,000 per yr. And these jobs are positioned in each county in Washington, highlighting that manufacturing is significant and alive within the state.
The employers that assist these jobs are sometimes small household companies that anchor our communities. Vaagen Timber makes cross-laminated timber merchandise in Colville. Spokane’s Hotstart Thermal Administration designs and manufactures engine heating methods and different merchandise. Callisons in Lacey is a number one provider of mint oils and flavors. And SEA-LECT Plastics in Everett is an injection molding producer with a powerful apprenticeship program.
The report additionally reveals that know-how is a shortly rising sector with greater than 276,000 staff in 2019. And there are 12 Washington counties with at the very least a thousand know-how staff.
These industries are vital for state revenues as effectively. Manufacturing and know-how accounted for greater than $6 billion in direct and secondary tax funds to the state funds in 2019. That’s about half of what our state spends on public training in a yr, and greater than twice what we spend on increased training.
And these industries undoubtedly helped preserve Washington’s state funds over the previous yr. A current report by the Pew Charitable Trusts reveals that Washington is No. 1 amongst 50 states by way of income development because the begin of the pandemic.
Let’s not take this with no consideration. And let’s focus our vitality on creating the proper situations so all employers can succeed and create jobs. This implies infrastructure to get items to market and staff to their jobs, nearly or in-person. Workforce coaching, assist for small companies, increasing broadband availability, regulatory reform, and protecting our state aggressive are additionally excessive on the record.
As vaccinations enhance and we emerge from our COVID-19 lockdowns, let’s keep in mind that Washington’s manufacturing and know-how sectors proceed to offer a stable basis for our future success.
And we look ahead to constructing on that basis by serving to Washington meet the state’s new purpose of doubling the variety of manufacturing jobs by 2031.
Kris Johnson is president of the Affiliation of Washington Enterprise, the state’s chamber of commerce and producers affiliation.