3 Cities to Watch
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Bill Conroy is editor in chief of Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or email@example.com.
Washington’s unemployment rate spiked to 10. 4 percent in late 2009
and early 2010 as the fallout from the Great Recession took hold. The
U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, peaked at 10 percent in October
2009. Washington’s unemployment rate dropped below 5 percent for
the first time since the recession in December 2016 and as of this past
July stood at 4. 6 percent, compared with the U.S. rate of 3. 9 percent.
Regions with the highest unemployment rates in Washington are located
in the rural stretches of northeastern Washington, in counties such as Ferry,
which as of this past July had an unemployment rate of 9. 6 percent.
Other counties with high unemployment rates include the coastal
counties of Pacific, Grays Harbor, Mason and Clallam — which had
unemployment rates ranging between 5. 7 and 6 percent as of July 2018.
Focus: Legal cannabis industry
Washington voters approved the sale of legal cannabis in 2012 via
Initiative 502, and the first recreational pot stores came online under new
state rules in July 2014. Although marijuana sales are still illegal under
federal law, some 30 states have already approved various recreational-and/or medical-marijuana legalization frameworks. Federal authorities, to
date, have allowed the legal marijuana industry to develop so long as state
laws regulating cannabis are rigorous.
In the Evergreen State, the legal cannabis industry from inception through
June 2018 has generated more than $3.3 billion in total sales, according
to figures from 502Data.com. The commercial real estate opportunities
have been bountiful as well, with some 474 retailers now authorized to sell
cannabis to the public in Washington. They are supplied by more than
1,300 licensed marijuana growers and processors, according to 502Data.com.
A recent report from Business Insider ranked the greater Seattle area
as having the fourth-strongest economy among the nation’s 40 largest
metros. With a population of some 704,000, Seattle is informally known
as Jet City, a reference to the impact of airline manufacturer Boeing,
which was founded in Seattle. The Seattle metro area, the largest in
the state, is home to multiple Fortune 500 companies, including Costco,
Microsoft, Amazon.com, Starbucks, Nordstrom and Weyerhaeuser.
The Port of Seattle ranks as one of the largest in the U.S. in terms of
container capacity and is a major hub for trade with Asia.
The second-largest city in Washington, with a population of 216,000,
Spokane’s economy historically has been fueled by mining and forestry. Today, the city’s economy is far more diverse and encompasses
a range of industries, including technology, health care, finance and
manufacturing. The city is home to Gonzaga University, a college
basketball powerhouse, and it hosts the annual Lilac Festival and the
Spokane GLBT Film Festival. The city is located near numerous lakes,
rivers and mountains, which support a vibrant outdoor-recreation
Located in south central Washington, Yakima is the state’s ninth-largest
city, with a population of about 92,000. The greater Yakima area is one
of the leading apple-producing regions in the world as well as a major
wine- and hops-producing center. Health services and local government
also are major employers in the area. In addition, Yakima boasts some
250 manufacturing companies that produce products such as aircraft
parts, wood products and plastics. The city is home to one of the oldest
community colleges in the state, Yakima Valley Community College, and
also offers plenty of tourism draws — including skiing, fishing, hiking
and whitewater rafting.
Sources: 502data.com, Boeing, Business Insider, City of Spokane, City of Yakima, CNBC,
ESPN, Forbes, Greater Spokane Inc. Economic Development, Huffington Post, JLL,
National Association of Manufacturers, OPB, Organization for International Investment,
Partnership for a New American Economy, ProCon.org, Rolling Stone, U. S. Department
of Commerce, U. S. Department of Labor, U. S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Office, Washington
Department of Agriculture, Washington State Employment Security Department.