Tag Archives: economy

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.

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

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):

State predicts an increase in holiday season hiring

The holidays should be brighter this year for seasonal workers in Washington.

State economists predict increased holiday hiring by retailers this fall and winter, after two years of decline.

Employment Security Department projects 12,726 holiday hires statewide in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 10,542 in 2015.

The same report forecasts 375 hires in Kitsap county this year, up from 333 last year.

General merchandise stores do the bulk of the hiring.

“Healthier wage growth amidst an improving employment situation should help raise holiday sales to a level that boosts hiring,” Turek said in the release.

2016-holiday-hiring

Fourth quarter retail sales surged in the past few years, but seasonal staffing didn’t followed suit.

Turek told me statewide holiday hiring peaked in 2013 at 16,500. Hires dropped to 14,753 in 2014 and plunged to 10,542 in 2015, falling well short of the state’s forecast.

The decline was partially attributed to retailers moving away from brick-and-mortar storefronts to focus on online sales. Downsizing by food stores like Haggen also took a toll, Turek said.

This year, Turek sees fewer stores restructuring and believes improving employment and wages will bolster seasonal hiring.

Boat sales are back in a big way

20080627-173841-pic-90777257_5695367_ver1.0_640_480It’s hard to beat boat sales as an indicator of luxury spending.

Boats are typically expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, and expensive to use. In short, owning a boat is a great way to dispose of disposable income.

With the exception of live-aboards, maritime professionals and remote island dwellers, very few boat owners can claim to really need their boats.

Like sales of many other luxury goods, boat sales took a dive during the recession. Droves of underwater boat owners literally walked away from their vessels.

20070619-190929-pic-800119525_5727290_ver1.0_640_480Now the boating industry is rising from the depths. Boat sales seemed to turn a corner in 2013, as I noted  in a story a couple of springs ago.

Sales continued to grow during the past two years, likely buoyed by the improving economy, falling gas prices and long, hot summers.

Puget Sound Business Journal reported this week that more than a quarter of Washington households own a boat, and sales in the state jumped 24 percent in 2015.

harbor3_18647849_ver1.0_640_480We don’t have access to boat sales as a dollar amount here in Kitsap, but we do know how many vessels were sold to people who keep their boats in the county, thanks to data from Washington Sea Grant and the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

By their count, total boat sales for Kitsap increased 21 percent between 2010 (when activity bottomed out) and 2015. The rebound of new boats sales was more dramatic, jumping 102 percent over the same period.

New vessels accounted for 12 percent of Kitsap boat sales in 2015. The data include all power boats and sailboats with titles (so no kayaks or paddle boards).

Here’s a graphic showing boat sales for Kitsap since 2009:

Kitsap residents bought more boats last spring

If the early onset of summer weather had you salivating over the “boats” section of Craigslist last spring, you definitely weren’t alone.

Kitsap residents went on a bit of a  boat buying spree in the second quarter of the year.  A total of 717 vessels sold to buyers with moorage in Kitsap County, according to numbers posted by Washington Sea Grant.

That was a 14 percent increase from the same period of 2014, and a 31 percent jump from five years ago.

As you can see from the chart, more county residents are springing for new boats, which is good news for local dealerships, hit hard during the recession.

A number factors are likely propelling the recent surge in boat sales, including the improving economy, relatively low fuel prices and, of course, the sunshine.