Tag Archives: labor

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):

Strong first quarter for jobs in Kitsap


Kitsap County is enjoying its highest job levels since 2008.

An average of 86,500 people worked for employers within the county in the first quarter of 2015, a 3 percent improvement from the same period of 2014.

Employment was up about 2 percent from last year among private companies in Kitsap and 4 percent among government agencies, according to data from the state Employment Security Department.

On the private side, some of the largest gains came from the areas of retail trade and leisure/hospitality.

The growth in government jobs was largely from federal employment, which increased from about 16,400 in the first quarter of 2014 to 17,400 in the first quarter of 2015.

Here’s a graphical look at jobs trends in Kitsap:


Employment/labor force

General employment among Kitsap County residents showed slight improvement in the first quarter.

An average of 108,373 county residents were employed during the first three months of the year, an increase of about 540 from the same period of 2014.

The labor force — the total number of people working or seeking work — was also up slightly in the first quarter, despite a dropoff in March.

Kitsap County finished March with a 5.7 percent unemployment rate, reflecting a modest gain in employment and the dip in the labor force.

Here’s a graphical look at employment and labor force trends in Kitsap:

Home care workers holding protest in Bremerton

Update: As far as we could tell, nobody showed up to this event today. We’ve reached out to organizers to find out if it was cancelled. 

Home care workers will rally at Burger King in Bremerton on Wednesday to protest in support of a $15 minimum wage and retirement benefits.

The workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union. The event is part of a statewide day of action.

Home care workers are protesting provisions in a proposed budget released by state Senate Republicans, which they say would prevent contributions to retirement plans.

The protest will begin at 11:30 a.m. at 621 Warren Ave., Bremerton.

Kitsap employment up for the holidays

Shop1_9941910_ver1.0_640_480The holiday hiring season arrived in earnest in November.

About 2,200 more Kitsap residents were employed last month than in October, according to a monthly report from the Employment Security Department.

The jump isn’t unusual, as companies tend to hire seasonal workers during the holidays (the JCPenney in Silverdale, for example, told me they brought on 70 employees before Black Friday).

About 220 more people were listed as unemployed but actively seeking jobs November. Kitsap’s labor force (the total number of people employed or looking for jobs) grew by 2,450. The state’s labor force also grew significantly in November.

That’s a good sign to economists. If people are looking for work, it usually means they’re optimistic they’ll find work.

Growth in the labor force demonstrates “ongoing faith in a recovering economy,” state labor economist Paul Turek said.

Here’s a graphical look at labor trends in Kitsap over the last three years:


September employment: local jobs lull continues

Employment was looking up in Kitsap County for the first seven months of the year.

That changed in August when employment took a dive. The 83,700 working for Kitsap employers in September was roughly the same as in the previous two years:

Jobs in Kitsap | Create Infographics

Private employment remained steady from August to September, according to the Employment Security Department. Government employment fell by 100.


Employment was also down among Kitsap County residents in September. About 880 fewer people were employed last month than in August.

The labor force, the number of people working or actively seeking work, also shrank over the same period, keeping the county’s unemployment rate steady at 5.3 percent.

Despite the dip from August, 290 more people were employed in September than at the same time in 2013. Overall, employment among Kitsap residents appears to be stabilizing this year after declining each year since 2008.

Kitsap employment up, labor force still shrinking

employmentFamiliar employment trends continued in April, with the number of jobs in Kitsap increasing, employment among its residents growing slightly, and the labor force shrinking.

Kitsap Jobs

Kitsap employers added about 400 employees between March and April, according to the Employment Security Department (see the chart above). Those added jobs came from construction, retail, hospitality and local government, among other trades.

Employment in the county continues to outpace 2012 and 2013 as the busy summer season approaches.



The county unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in April, in line with the statewide trend.

Kitsap’s labor force (the total number of workers and job seekers) declined, dropping from 116,320  to 115,110. Meanwhile, 80 residents started jobs, raising the number of employed to 108,770. The combination of those factors caused the unemployment rate to fall by 1.1 percent between March and April. Continue reading

Harrison pro-techs will vote on contract Thursday

Union pro-tech employees at Harrison Medical Center are expected to vote on a contract proposal Thursday. The bargaining team negotiating on behalf of those 800 employees has recommended they vote “no” on Harrison’s proposal.

Negotiations on a new contract began last summer and stalled over the winter. The hospital and employees, represented by UFCW 21, returned to the bargaining table March 14 but did not reach an agreement. Harrison requested a vote on its latest proposal.

We’ll report on the results of the vote meetings Thursday.