Category Archives: Economic Development

Kitsap entered fall with more jobs and a growing labor force

More jobs are available in Kitsap this fall than in previous years, according to the state Employment Security Department.

But a growing labor force has contributed to a higher unemployment rate in the county.

Jobs in Kitsap

chartimgA preliminary estimate showed 89,600 non-farm jobs in Kitsap in October, an increase of 900 from October 2015.

 

Of the new jobs, 700 were created in the government sector while 200 were added in the private sector.

The state has consistently reported more jobs in Kistap this year than in 2015, and significantly more jobs than in 2014. There  were about 2,600 more jobs in the county in October 2016 than in October 2014.

Employment/unemployment

Nearly 111,500 Kitsap residents were employed in October, according to Employment Security, marking an increase of 1,460 from October of last year.

The county’s labor force — the total number of people working or seeking work — grew by more than 2,400 over the same period, topping 118,300 in October.

Growth in the labor force has contributed to a higher unemployment rate in the county this year compared with 2015.chartimg-1

For statistical purposes, people are only counted as “unemployed” if they are actively seeking work. So as more people join the labor force and look for work, it can cause the unemployment rate to rise.

That appears to be the case in Kitsap, where the unemployment rate rose from 5.1 percent in October of 2015 to 5.8 percent in October of 2016, despite more residents becoming employed.

BridgeCare Finance wins Edg3 Fund prize

The Smithshyre farm in Poulsbo
The Smithshyre farm in Poulsbo

Mount Vernon-based BridgeCare Finance won Kitsap Bank’s $20,000 Edg3 Fund small business prize Thursday, according to a news release.

BridgeCare offers short-term loans to help working families afford childcare.

The Smithshyre farm in Poulsbo earned the $5,000 Community Edg3 Award, recognizing the entrant that “best embodies the spirit of community.”

The farm specializes in rearing organic, pasture-raised poultry.

Edg3 Fund winners were selected by a panel of judges during a live event at Kitsap Conference Center.

Port will discuss sale of Bremerton waterfront property Tuesday

Parkignlot_7988144_ver1.0_640_480Port of Bremerton commissioners will discuss the terms of an agreement Tuesday to sell a premier waterfront development property above Bremerton Marina.

According to port CEO Jim Rothlin, the commission is weighing a $4.5 million offer from development firm Sound West Group to purchase the Washington Avenue property. By law, the port can’t sell the land for less than fair market value.

Sound West partner Mike Brown told me the firm is interested in creating a mixed-use development on the 2-acre site.

The port bought the land from Kitsap Consolidated Housing Authority in 2009 for $3.5 million to provide parking for the marina. The district put the property on the market last year with an asking price of $5 million. bremerton-property

Port CEO Jim Rothlin said the goal of the sale would be to pay off the debt from the purchase while still maintaining parking for boaters.

“At the time of the purchase the port’s intent was always to see development occur there at some point that would help increase growth and economic development for the community,” Rothlin said prior to a Nov. 8 public hearing on the potential sale.

“But the priority was really to make sure we secured parking for the marina and were able to pay off debt on that property as well.”

South Kitsap resident Roger Gay was the only member of the public to offer comment. He urged commissioners to be upfront with the public about the process and the potential impact development of the property might have on the marina.

“You need to have those answers no ahead of time as much as possible,” Gay said.

Port commissioners vowed to only agree to a sale if parking for the marina was preserved.

The commission will review a purchase and sale agreement for the property at its regular meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bremerton National Airport. Approval of the port’s 2017 budget also is on the agenda.

Kitsap company honored for hiring veterans

global-gov-services-logoThe state honored a rapidly-growing ship maintenance company in Kitsap County last week for its commitment to hiring veterans.

Former service members comprise more than half of the workforce at Global Government Services in Bremerton, according to a news release from the Employment Security Department. 

Global Government Services hired 96 full-time workers in the past year, including laborers, helpers, welders, electricians, machinists and mechanics. It plans to hire another 100 employees in the coming year, according to the release. 

Global was among 12 businesses across the state honored for creating employment opportunities for veterans. 

“These companies’ commitment to hiring veterans is truly exceptional,” Employment Security Department Commissioner Peinecke said the in the release. “I hope other Washington employers will be inspired and follow their lead.”

The state’s WorkSource program placed nearly 7,500 veterans into jobs between July 2015 and June 2016.

Employers interested in hiring veterans can learn more at the WorkSource website.

Kitsap retail sales climbed 7 percent in second quarter

shipping1_13446451_ver1-0_640_480Taxable retail sales reached $1.03 billion in Kitsap in the second quarter of the year, an increase of 7.3 percent from the same period of 2015.

Sales grew at a slower rate than in previous quarters.

Kitsap enjoyed an 8 to 11 percent year-over-year increase in sales in each of the past five quarters, according to the Department of Revenue.


Retail trade sales (sales made by stores, dealerships and other businesses selling merchandise to consumers) totaled $550 million in Kitsap in the second quarter of 2016, up 7.4 percent from 2015.

Here’s a look at how second quarter sales in Kitsap compared with other Puget Sound counties:

Sales by industry

Major retail trade industries reporting increased sales included auto dealers and parts stores (up 14.3 percent), building and garden material suppliers (up 11.6 percent),  drug and health stores (up 24.4 percent), and general merchandise stores (up 1 percent).

Outside of retail trade, construction climbed 13.3 percent and accommodations and food services rose 7.4 percent.

Here’s a full breakdown of sales by industry (click the full screen button so you won’t strain your eyeballs):

q.2.2016.retail by Tad Sooter on Scribd

Bank deposits in Kitsap top $3 billion

wintergreen2_26878522_ver1-0_640_480Deposits at bank branches in Kitsap County topped $3 billion for the first time in 2016, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Deposits spread across the 58 bank branches in the county totaled more than $3.005 billion at the end of June.

That number did not include deposits at credit union branches.

Deposits flattened during the recession, but increased steadily each year since 2012:

Sixteen banks operated offices in Kitsap in 2016. Two — Kitsap Bank and Liberty Bay Bank — are headquartered in the county.

Port Orchard-based Kitsap Bank had the most offices in the county, with 11. Bank of America reported highest deposit total, with $653.25 million (Kitsap Bank was a close second with $637.36 million).

Here’s a sortable table breaking down banks with a brick-and-mortar presence in our county:

Poulsbo coworking office will open in 2017

static1-squarespaceA coworking space aimed at serving telecommuters, freelancers and entrepreneurs is slated to open next year in Poulsbo.

Vibe Coworks has leased a 5,300-square-foot space in the top floor of a new commercial building planned on Eighth Avenue, according to a news release.

The building, designed by Rice Fergus Miller, is expected to be completed by Tim Ryan Construction in the fall of 2017.

Poulsbo native Alanna Imbach and her husband, Marcel Imbach, are the creators of Vibe Coworks. They’ll be relocating from New York City to start the business.

“We’d had phenomenal experiences with coworking communities in NYC, and knew the timing was right to bring something like that to Kitsap,” Alanna said in the release.

Vibe Coworks will provide Kitsap residents a flexible alternative to commuting, working from home or working out of coffee shops. The Imbaches believe Seattle-area employers also may be interested purchasing memberships at Vibe for employees who want to live in Kitsap.

The space will feature conference rooms, offices, individual phone/video booths, event space, a balcony, lockers and a coffee shop-style community kitchen, according to the release.

See the Vibe Coworks website for more information.

Minimum wage initiative would affect thousands of Kitsap workers

20060124-061050-pic-985377851_5739340_ver1-0_640_480A minimum wage initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot could boost pay for thousands of low-wage Kitsap County workers, according to analysis by a state economist.

But nailing down exactly how many jobs would be affected if the initiative passed is no easy task.

If approved, Initiative 1433 would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage from the current $9.47 an hour to $13.50 an hour in 2020.

To help understand the implications of the initiative, state Employment Security Department economist Scott Bailey created a hypothetical scenario in which a $13.50 minimum wage was applied to 2015 labor markets in each county. He used a $12.23 minimum wage to account for inflation between 2015 and 2020.

B0013070067--582128For job and wage data, Bailey turned to a database of quarterly wage records.

The records include most jobs covered by unemployment insurance, but exclude federal jobs, private household employment like nannying, and home health care workers.

Bailey also noted the records capture three-month periods, which makes it difficult to create an exact point-in-time job count, since individuals move in and out of labor markets, and many jobs are short-term.

With all those caveats in mind, here were key takeaways from Bailey’s analysis of Kitsap County’s labor market in 2015:

— Somewhere between 3 percent and 6 percent of non-federal jobs in Kitsap paid minimum wage ($9.47, plus or minus 18 cents).

— Somewhere between 19 percent and 26 percent of non-federal jobs paid less than $12.23 an hour (the equivalent of $13.50 in 2020). That was between 9,000 and 19,000 jobs.

— Jobs paying less than $12.23 an hour accounted for 8 percent of Kitsap’s non-federal payroll.

— Payroll would have to increase by about 1.2 percent to meet the minimum wage requirement under 1433, a change of about $29.7 million.

Bailey also took a statewide look at what industries would most be affected by the minimum wage hike, again using 2015 labor market numbers.

This chart shows the percentage of jobs by industry paying less than $12.23 an hour (the equivalent of $13.50 in 2020):

Bremerton Marina now 85 percent full

harbor3_18647849_ver1.0_640_480Bremerton Marina crept closer to full occupancy this summer.

Boats filled 187 of 221 permanent moorage slips in the downtown marina in July, up from 164 in July of 2015, and 88 back in 2012. July and August are peak months for the facility.

Marina marketing consultant Bob Wise told Port of Bremerton commissioners Tuesday that the port’s “two-for-one” moorage discount continues to reel in boaters.

The deal allows tenants to pay moorage every other month, if they agree to a two-year contract.

The port rolled out the discount in 2013, and offered it again at the Seattle Boat Show in January. That resulted in 31 new leases, Wise said.

Most tenants are sticking around to sign full-rate contracts after their two-year discounts expire. The retainment rate for boaters attracted by the two-for-one deal is about 70 percent, Wise said.

The discount “gives us an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer,” he said.

More downtown activity is also helping draw attention to the marina. A revamped Rock the Dock concert series drew large crowds this summer (the last concert of the season is Saturday). Brewfest and the Harbor Festival are popular with boaters.

The port continues to aggressively plug the marina on social media, in magazine ads, and at boat shows. Revenue has increased as slips filled up, but the facility is still far from breaking even.

More than 500 planes confirmed for Bremerton airport fly-in

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Registration numbers are soaring for an aviation convention planned this weekend at Bremerton National Airport.

B0015742479--722623As of Wednesday morning, 523 pilots had confirmed they planned to land at the airport for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Fly-In, which kicks off Friday evening and continues through Saturday.

Nearly 160 participants planned to camp under the wings of their planes.
Total registration for the event had topped 1,700, but closer to 3,000 attendees are expected, according to airport director Fred Salisbury.

“It should be a packed house,” he said.

Weather forecasts should help boost attendance. The National Weather Service predicts sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s this weekend.

The Bremerton event will double the size of the AOPA Fly-In Spokane hosted in 2014, which attracted 1,500 attendees and 240 planes. (A torrential rainstorm the day before festivities began dampened attendance.)B0013904477--374701

Big registration numbers for Bremerton are encouraging to organizers, who believe the event will provide an economic boost to the area.

AOPA Fly-Ins typically generate about $680,000 for the local economy, according to the association. The conventions create business for hotels, transportation companies, food vendors and contractors.

Jack Edwards, manager of Bremerton’s Baymont Inn & Suites, said roughly one-third of his rooms (about 50 units) were booked for the weekend by Fly-In participants. He started receiving reservations from AOPA members as early as April.

“We’re still getting calls from them, but we’re full,” Edwards said.

A plane flies above Mt. Rainier as seen from the window of a Beechcraft Baron piloted by Avian Flight Center's Pat Heseltine on Friday, June 3, 2016. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Visitors who waited until this week to book rooms would be hard pressed to vacancies anywhere in Bremerton, he said.

Visit Kitsap Peninsula Executive Director Patty Graf-Hoke said the Port of Bremerton deserved praise for bringing the Fly-In to Kistap.

“The AOPA very prestigious national organization and their West Coast event offers locals new opportunities to introduce hundreds tourists to the region,” Graf-Hoke said in an email. “Guests are filling up hotel rooms which is good for local businesses and the economy.”

The AOPA Fly-In is free and open to the public. Click here to learn more about the event.

You don’t have to be a pilot to enjoy the beauty of the Kitsap peninsula from the air. Click here to see Meegan Reid’s gallery of aerial photos taken earlier this year.