Category Archives: Economic Development

Kitsap retail sales up 10 percent in first quarter

Retail sales increased 9.7 percent in Kitsap County during the first three months of the year, outpacing the statewide growth in sales.

shoes6_22899584_ver1.0_640_480Kitsap establishments reported $914 million in taxable sales in the first quarter of 2016, compared with $834 million in the first quarter of 2015, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Retail trade sales (subset of retail sales that includes transactions made by dealerships, stores and other businesses selling merchandise directly to consumers) were up 6.7 percent, marking the largest percentage increase in the region.

Statewide, retail sales grew 8.9 percent in the first quarter and retail trade sales grew 5.1 percent.

Here’s a chart showing sales growth in Puget Sound area counties:

Sales by industry

Major retail trade industries reporting increased sales included auto dealers and parts stores (up 12.4 percent), building and garden material suppliers (up 10.7 percent),  drug and health stores (up 31.3 percent), and sporting goods, toys, book and music stores (up 7.1 percent).

General merchandise stores experienced a 1.5 percent dip in sales, after enjoying a strong fourth quarter.

Outside of retail trade, building construction climbed 24.7 percent, manufacturing 7.1 percent, wholesale trade 16.5 percent, and accommodations and food services 12.5 percent.

Here’s a full breakdown of sales by industry (click the full screen button to avoid squinting):

Port mulling $75k real estate marketing study

SAFE Boats remains an anchor tenant at the port
SAFE Boats remains an anchor industrial tenant at the port

The Port of Bremerton is considering paying a consulting firm $75,000 to study how the district can best market its sprawling industrial property to potential tenants.

According to a memo prepared by CEO Jim Rothlin, the goal of the analysis would be to identify the port’s strengths and generate a list of businesses that could benefit from locating there.

“While the Port has many amenities to offer prospective tenants at the Industrial Park, it is critical that we find a way to stand apart from many other location options available to them,” Rothlin wrote in the memo.

Rothlin is recommending a contract with real estate consulting firm Heartland LLC. of Seattle.

The bulk of the $75,000 price tag would be covered by a $49,500 grant the port recently obtained from the state Department of Commerce. The port would pick up the remaining $25,500.

The port commission will vote on the contract during its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bremerton National Airport.

You can read Rothlin’s memo below and find the port commission agenda here.


Employment stronger, job growth gradual in Kitsap this year

Kitsap County saw incremental job growth through May this year, while overall employment among county residents remained more robust.

Kitsap jobs

Kitsap County employers provided an estimated 88,900 jobs in May, according to preliminary numbers from the state Employment Security Department. That marked an increase of 1,300 from May 2015.

Through the first five months of the year, the number of jobs in Kitsap was up 1.8 percent compared with the same period of 2015.

The largest gain came in the public sector, where jobs increased by 3.5 percent. Private sector jobs increased by less than 1 percent.

Here’s a graphical look at Kitsap job trends:


Overall employment among Kitsap residents has been healthier so far this year than last.

The county’s labor force (the total number of people working or seeking work) numbered 117,400 in May, up 2,568 from May of 2015. And about 2,600 more county residents were working last month than in May 2015.

Kitsap’s unemployment rate hovered at 5.7 percent.

Here’s a graphical look at employment trends:

Kitsap retail sales up 10 percent in fourth quarter

20051225-013527-pic-742444482Kitsap retailers had cause to celebrate during the 2015 holiday season.

The $1.03 billion in taxable retail sales reported by county businesses during the last three months of the year marked a 10.4 percent increase from the same period of 2014.

Kitsap posted the largest percent increase in fourth quarter sales of any county in the Puget Sound region, according stats from the state Department of Revenue. 

Retail trade sales — sales made by dealerships, stores and other businesses selling merchandise directly consumers — were up 7.7 percent.

Major retail trade industries reporting increased sales included auto dealers and parts stores (up 11.4 percent), building and garden material suppliers (up 12.5 percent), and general merchandise stores (up 5.1 percent).

Outside of retail trade, building construction was up an impressive 25.4 percent, manufacturing up 7 percent, wholesale trade 16.3 percent, information up 14.5 percent, and accommodations up 26.1 percent.

(Click here to see the year-over-year change in sales every industry in Kitsap.)

Annual sales

With the fourth quarter stats in hand we can now see how 2015 sales stacked up to previous calendar years.

Retail sales in Kitsap increased by 9.96 percent from 2014 to 2015, and 26 percent from five years ago.

Here’s a chart showing annual retail sales in Kitsap for the past five years:

Kitsap posts solid first quarter job growth

Kitsap County added about 2,366 jobs from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the state Employment Security Department.

Kitsap had an average of 88,233 jobs during the first three months of the year, up nearly 3 percent from the same period of 2015. Job growth came from both the private sector (up 2 percent) and government sector (up 4 percent).

Here’s a graphical look at job growth in the county:


Overall employment among Kitsap residents also improved in the first quarter.

The county’s labor force (the total number of people working or seeking work) was up about 3,500 from the first quarter of 2015, reaching an average of 118,651.

An average of 111,711 residents were employed during the first three months of the year. The county unemployment rate hovered at about 5.8 percent.

Here’s a long-term look at Kitsap employment trends:

$97,000 awarded for youth job skills programs

431751_5554031_ver1.0_640_480The state awarded more than $97,000 to a local workforce development agency to create internships and training opportunities for young people, according to a news release.

The YouthWorks funding was awarded to the Olympic Workforce Development Area Consortium, which oversees WorkSource offices in Kitsap, Clallam and Jefferson Counties.

YouthWorks is a collaborative program between workforce councils, schools and other educational agencies to provide job search skills, career assessments and work experience jobs to high school dropouts and other youth re-engaging with school after dropping out.

Locally, the YouthWorks project will partner with Olympic Educational Services District, West Sound Technical Skills Center, Olympic College, West Sound STEM and Stand Up for Kids, an organization that reaches out to homeless youth to teach basic life skills.

“This YouthWorks investment opens wonderful opportunities for our youth to gain valuable work skills and experiences,” County Commissioner and Olympic Consortium Chair Charlotte Garrido said in the release. “It will enhance our local workforce and spur our economy.”

Private sector wages in Kitsap are in the middle of the pack

wintergreen1_26878523_ver1.0_640_480Kitsap County is in the middle of the pack in Washington when it comes to non-government wages.

The median hourly wage for the private sector in Kitsap was $18.03 an hour in 2014, according to a December report from the state Employment Security Department (these reports take about a year to be released).

Wages in Kitsap were far lower than in King County, where the median private sector wage soared to $26.89 in 2014.

Kitsap’s median wage was also lower than the median for the state ($21.48), which was skewed upward by King. And Kitsap’s median wage was still slightly lower than the state median with King County left out ($18.51).

Overall, Kitsap ranked 15th out of 39 Washington counties for private sector wages. The county’s median wage peaked in 2010, according to the report.

Here’s a graphical look at wage trends:

Kitsap employment off to strong start in 2016


Kitsap County started the new year with strong employment and job numbers, according to the state Employment Security Department. 

Jobs in Kitsap

More than 88,100 people worked for employers within Kitsap County in January, according to preliminary estimates. That was an increase of 2,700 from January 2015.

Significant year-over-year gains were reported in both the private and government sectors.

The report also revised job estimates for 2015, reporting an average of 88,500 jobs for Kitsap last year.

Here’s a graphical look at job numbers:


Overall employment among Kitsap County residents was also better in January than in January 2015.

B0013070067--582128Kitsap’s labor force (the number of people working or actively seeking work) grew by more than 3,000 workers. About 3,700 more residents were employed.

The number of residents reported as unemployed fell to 7,040. The unemployment rate hovered at 5.9 percent (down from 6.4 percent in January 2015.)

The state also posted revised employment numbers for 2015, with more favorable results for Kitsap. Here’s a graphical look at long-term employment trends:

Poulsbo Chamber names new director

Dan Barry

The Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce announced Dan Barry as its new director of operations.

Barry will oversee board governance, marketing, membership, event planning and staff management, according to a news release.

He replaces Marc Abshire, who departed for the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce in January.

Barry worked as a sales manager at another chamber, and held management positions in the banking, mortgage, and travel industries.

“The Greater Poulsbo Chamber has become the catalyst for business prosperity, connections, and opportunities in our business community,” board president Ingemar Anderson said in the release.

“Dan’s unique skillset will insure the Chamber is successful in executing our recently developed 10-year strategic plan.”

Barry was named Volunteer of the Year in 2015 by the Poulsbo Rotary Club and was a 20 Under 40 award recipient of the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal.

He lives in Keyport with his wife and 4-year-old daughter.