Tag Archives: statistics

Census acknowledges data gap that led to faulty fast ferry numbers

The U.S. Census Bureau has acknowledged a data gap in one of its online applications that led Kitsap Transit to publish untrue statements about local commuter trends.

While fact checking campaign materials for Kitsap Transit’s fast ferry sales tax proposal, the Kitsap Sun discovered Census’ OnTheMap employment mapping tool doesn’t display civilian Department of Defense jobs, even though documentation for the application stated those jobs were included.

The omission was readily apparent in Bremerton, where defense jobs represent a large segment of the labor market.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility employed about 11,000 workers in 2014, the most recent year OnTheMap has data for. But OnTheMap showed only 218 jobs in the area of the shipyard.

The Sun contacted the Census Bureau regarding the discrepancy on Oct. 12. At first, bureau representatives were unable to confirm whether shipyard jobs were included in OnTheMap data. Then on Friday, Census provided this statement:

“The U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap tool does not include civilian employees of the Department of Defense and Armed Forces.

“We have updated the application documentation for the tool to reflect this exclusion. We are committed to providing data that gives an accurate snapshot of our nation’s communities.”

Without the disclaimer regarding civilian defense jobs, OnTheMap presented a skewed snapshot of many communities like Kitsap with a strong military presence. The Department of Defense employs nearly 800,000 civilians, according to its careers website.

By relying on the incomplete Census data for its research, Kitsap Transit drew the incorrect conclusion that more Kitsap residents work in Seattle than work in Bremerton — a talking point that helped bolster the case for fast ferry service across Puget Sound.

Kitsap Transit removed fast ferry materials that referenced the claim after the discrepancy in OnTheMap data was brought to light.

We don’t know how many other local public agencies have used OnTheMap for planning.

Puget Sound Regional Council spokesman Rick Olson said council staff do not use OnTheMap for research, but do recommend the tool to people looking for a quick overview of commuter trends.

Including civilian defense jobs in OnTheMap would be a useful service to the public. Users of the application will at least now be warned a large gap exists in the data.

Average apartment rent in Kitsap reaches $1,077

12096541_10206510262029092_907327638897249611_nKitsap’s rental market remains tight, but rents and vacancy rates seem to be steadying.

Average rent at large apartment complexes was $1,077 a month in the first quarter of 2016, a $6 increase from the fourth quarter of 2015.

Rent was up about $116 from a year ago, a 12 percent change, according to numbers provided by Tom Cain of Apartment Insights Washington.

Vacancy rates ticked up for the third straight quarter, reaching 4.22 percent.

The opening of the 71-unit 606 apartments in downtown Bremerton likely played a role in increasing vacancies. Bremerton’s vacancy rate jumped from 2.64 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 4.53 percent in first quarter of 2016.

Poulsbo/Bainbridge Island remained the tightest submarket, with a 2.91 percent vacancy rate.

In his quarterly report, Cain noted the shortage of homes for sale in the region has been a boon for rental owners.

“The tight home sale market and moderate level of new apartment construction will help keep pressure on rentals,” Cain wrote. “We expect the market to flourish this year.”

Here’s a graphical look at Kitsap rental trends:

Kitsap real estate market keeps getting tighter

20050918-090653-pic-789628832Kitsap’s already-strained housing market somehow squeezed tighter in March.

There were nearly as many home sales pending in the county last month (559) as there were homes available for sale (566), according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Active listings were down nearly 33 percent in March from the same period of 2015.

Low inventory dampened sales activity across the Puget Sound region, but not in Kitsap where pending sales were up 4.5 percent.

The months supply of homes in Kitsap (the number of months it would take to sell off all the homes on the market if no new listings were added) fell to 1.6 months. A market is considered “balanced” when it has a supply of four to six months.

(Click here for a map showing the county’s tightest submarkets.)

Kitsap home prices remain elevated from 2015. Houses and condominiums sold for a median price of $276,387 in March, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent.

Here’s a graphical look at Kitsap real estate trends:

And here’s a map showing detailed real estate statistics by submarket. Wave your mouse over each area for details:

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:

Strong job numbers continued through October

Kitsap entered the holiday hiring season with more jobs than in previous years.

About 88,700 people were working for Kitsap companies in October, according to preliminary numbers from the state Employment Security Office. That was about 1,700 more than were employed in October 2014.

Numbers were up in the private sector, but the public sector posted a bigger gain, with an increase of about 1,200 jobs.

Here’s a graphical look at October job numbers:


Kitsap’s labor force (the total number of residents working or seeking work) remained lower than previous years, but began to climb in October, as is typical for the season.

About 1,250 people entered the workforce between September and October.

Overall employment among Kitsap residents still fell slightly in October, and remains lower than in recent years.

The county’s unemployment rate remained steady at 5 percent.

Here’s a graphical look at employment trends: