King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department

Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Countywide unemployment numbers for September continue to paint a bleak picture of the state of the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll.

A summary was released Oct. 20 by the Washington State Employment Security Department, summarizing last month’s figures.

Across King County this September, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped slightly to reach 7%. But it’s more than twice the rate of unemployment seen in September 2019, which reached 2.8%.

Six major industries in the report expanded the number of jobs they offered this September, but five other industries reported lost jobs. The largest one-month gains were in leisure and hospitality — an industry hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions — and government and construction. The largest losses came from retail trade.

The labor force in King County was slightly more than 1.281 million workers last month, with just under 1.92 employed.

However, the county is doing marginally better than the statewide unemployment rate, which sat at 7.4%. Washington’s unemployment rate was expected to increase to 7.7% in 2021, and drop to 6% in 2022.

And the report’s author, Regional Labor Economist Anneliese Sherman, said she expects to see even more unemployment claims filed through December.

“Based on the usual seasonal rhythms, I do expect unemployment insurance claims to climb over the next several weeks until the end of the year,” she said.

Compounding this is Boeing’s recent announcement that it will be shifting production of the 787 airliner from Everett to North Carolina in 2021.

While the most acute effects of this decision will be felt in Everett and Snohomish County, Sherman said, it’s likely a ripple effect will hit King County and surrounding areas, as companies that contract with Boeing are forced to either find new customers or try and supply parts to North Carolina.

“There’s going to be a lot of indirect impact on the local economy,” Sherman said. “And in Snohomish County, we tend to feel that every time there is a major shift in manufacturing from Boeing, you do see it in other industries throughout the region.”

In King County, travel and leisure jobs have been hit hard, especially related to air travel. Some 4,900 air transportation jobs, nearly one-third of the total number, have disappeared in the last 12 months, the report states.

Some other takeaways from the report include:

• Net employment in retail trade decreased by 900 over the month, but managed to expand by an estimated 1,300 over the year.

• Motor vehicle and parts dealers were up 200 jobs over the year, and general merchandise stores were down 2,900.

• Food and beverage stores, considered essential businesses, expanded employment by 900 over the year.

• Scientific, technical services added 6,000 jobs year over year.

• Government employers collectively added 1,800 jobs over the month, but shed an estimated 4,800 jobs over the year. The largest 12 month losses were from local government, including public schools. The largest gains were from federal employment related to the census.

Sherman said that King County is likely in a better position to eventually make an economic rebound. It has a larger and more diverse economy.

A press release from King County Executive Dow Constantine on Oct. 21 touts the county’s AAA bond rating, which is the highest possible. It was recently reaffirmed, allowing the county to finance construction, open space acquisition and other projects at the lowest possible costs. It is the only county in the state to receive this rating from all three major rating agencies.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

File photo
Vandals damage Denny’s – and other hijinks | Auburn police blotter

Auburn Police responded to the following calls for service, among many others,… Continue reading

MultiCare Auburn Medical Center. 	File photo
Auburn hospital sees 50 percent increase in COVID cases

In past month, Auburn Medical Center’s average rises to 20 patients a day.

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Council passes $12.59 billion biennial budget

King County Council on Nov. 17 passed a $12.59 billion biennial budget… Continue reading

Colin Schilling, CEO of Schilling’s Hard Cider. 	File photo
Prosecutor accuses Kent man of cider and clothing theft

Colin Schilling, CEO of Schilling’s Hard Cider, was on his way to… Continue reading

Courtesy Photo
Family seeks answers in Auburn fatal hit and run

Driver who killed Ardella Songcuan, 61, is still at large.

Survey aims to improve how Auburn serves its residents

On Nov. 2, an online community survey asking whether Auburn residents would… Continue reading

State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) authored the letter to Gov. Jay Inslee. Mullet represents the 5th Legislative District. File photo
Democratic lawmakers ask Inslee to lift ban on indoor dining

They want to try to scaling back on occupancy before forcing an end to inside service.

Positive COVID tests at Auburn hospital

Auburn Multicare Medical Center last week reported at least five employees and… Continue reading

Most Read