No targets are currently set for this indicator.
This indicator compares employment and wages in natural resource industries, including fishing, shellfish aquaculture, agriculture, timber, and recreation and tourism, to the county totals in the region. The original indicator sought to examine the output of natural resource industries in Puget Sound relative to the total economic output. In the absence of GDP data, employment and wage data are presented to show how natural resource industries are supporting jobs and livelihoods in the region.
Percentage of employment (number of jobs) and percentage of wages in natural resources-based industries out of all industries across the Puget Sound region. Natural resource industries include: aquaculture, agriculture, timber, fishing, and recreation and tourism.
This indicator helps us understand the contribution of natural industries to the economic activity in each county and the region overall. Industries such as technology, aerospace, and finance also contribute significantly to the regional economy, but a decline in natural resource industries may indicate a displacement of employment opportunities, as well as dissociation from connection to the natural environment and sense of place.
Data are collected and made publicly available through government agencies. Data are collected and made publicly available through government agencies. Each data source and agency has their own protocols and methodologies for data collection and reporting, and these methodologies may be changed or updated over time. We will report changes as we learn of them, as such changes may bias trends reported here.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Economics: National Ocean Watch; Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW); Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Regional Data: Local Area Personal Income and Employment; Headwaters Economics: Economic Profile System (HW EPS), County Business Patterns, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WADNR), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)
There are no targets set for the economic vitality indicators. Economic indicators are being tracked to monitor for potential negative and positive impacts of environmental changes from ecosystem recovery efforts to natural resource industries, while considering variables such as policy and management regulatory changes, technological change, changing consumer preferences and demands, and emerging markets.
This indicator compares the employment and wages from natural resource industries, including fishing, agriculture, aquaculture, timber, and recreation and tourism, to the total employment and wages of the region from all industries, helping us to understand the trends in natural resource industries across the region. Reporting employment and wage data instead of GDP data shifts the focus more directly toward people and how these industries support jobs and livelihoods in the Puget Sound region. Obtaining GDP data at the time of this indicator update at the desired scale was not feasible, so the percent of employment and wages in natural resource industries to total employment and wages in all industries was identified as a relevant substitute indicator. It should tell a similar story to GDP data that natural resource industries are a relatively small, but consistent, portion of the overall Puget Sound regional economy and that the contribution of these industries varies by county.
The data are compiled from existing sources to provide information on the number of jobs and total wages in individual and combined natural resources-based industries in Puget Sound, by county, by year.
Timber employment data for jobs classified as Forestry and Logging (NAICS 113) and Support Activities for Forestry (NAICS 1153) for the Puget Sound region total are provided by Headwaters Economics Economic Profiling System, derived from the Department of Commerce County Business Patterns data. Timber employment and wages at the county level for those same timber categories are compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Agricultural employment data for the Puget Sound region total and by county is provided by Headwaters Economics EPA, derived from farm employment data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Agricultural wage data is compiled from the BLS for jobs classified as crop production (NAICS 111).
The geographical scope of the Puget Sound Partnership includes all counties adjoining the Puget Sound basin. To restrict timber and agricultural employment and wage estimates accordingly, Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WADNR) forest practice and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) agricultural land use maps were intersected with county and Puget Sound Partnership boundaries. The percentage of timber or agricultural land use that fell within the Puget Sound area was used to draw a proportion of total county employment and wages. Timber and agriculture employment and wages represents actual harvest and farming activities, and does not include mills, manufacturing or other farm support services.
Fishing and Aquaculture employment and wages are provided by NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch program (ENOW), derived from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and reported by region. Fishing is defined as all finfish and shellfish fishing, while Aquaculture employment includes finfish farming, fish hatcheries, and shellfish farming. ENOW’s Washington data includes all counties in the Puget Sound Management Area, as well as the coastal counties of Greys Harbor, Pacific and Wahkiakum. To accurately reflect management area employment, QCEW employment for the outlying counties was collected and subtracted from the larger west region. U.S. Census Bureau non-employer statistics for the fishing industry were also added to the time series to reflect a large amount of self-employed people in the fishing industry. Fishing and Aquaculture employment and wages include harvest activities but does not include value added seafood processing or markets, such as retail and wholesale distribution. Due to the mobility of the fishing fleet, place of work data may only partially capture Puget Sound employment. Because of these two limitations the numbers report in the indicator assessment are probably under estimates of true employment in these two industries. For example, Northern Economics (2013) reports employment in shellfish aquaculture to have been 2,710 jobs in 2010 compared to 761 jobs reported for this indicator.
Recreation and tourism employment and wages are reported by ENOW and includes boat dealers, eating and drinking places, hotels and lodging, marinas, recreational parks and campsites, scenic water tours, sporting goods, amusement and recreation services, and zoos and aquaria. Employment and wages in this sector is reported only for zip codes that are adjacent to the coastal areas.
Recreation and tourism employment in Jefferson and Clallam counties accounted for 3,474 jobs on average annually from 2005-2019. However, those counties are not included in the indicator results because the indicator is focused on Puget Sound economic activity and we could not accurately remove Pacific coastal tourism and recreation employment from the total. Additionally, employment in Thurston County is not estimated by ENOW because the portion of coastal tourism and recreation that can be attributed to the Puget Sound versus the professional and political activity at the state’s capital is unclear. For these reasons, recreation and tourism estimates above should be considered conservative.
Total employment across all industries is provided by HW EPS and BEA Regional Data. Total wages across all industries is provided by QCEW. Total employment and wages are reported for the entire county and so includes areas outside the Puget Sound watershed in counties that are partially in the Puget Sound Watershed.
It is important to note that there are some gaps in county-level data, particularly for the aquaculture and fishing industries, where confidentiality prevents data from being reported at the county scale. BLS notes these gaps as “Not disclosable – data do not meet BLS of State Agency disclosure standards.” Farm employment data reported by the BEA incudes agriculture and aquaculture employment. Regarding industry employment data using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), the BEA notes that estimates of employment for 2001-2006 are based on the 2002 NAICS; estimates for 2007-2010 are based on the 2007 NAICS; estimates for 2011-2016 are based on the 2012 NAICS; estimates for 2017 forward are based on the 2017 NAICS.
The Puget Sound region includes the following counties: Clallam County, Island County, Jefferson County, King County, Kitsap County, Lewis County, Mason County, Pierce County, San Juan County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, Thurston County, and Whatcom County. Lewis County was not included in the total employment and wage data for all industries since only a small portion of Lewis county is in the Puget Sound watershed. As such, Lewis County is only included in the timber industry data.
For eight of the twelve counties, the 2019 percentage of natural resource industry employment and wage levels were slightly above or about the same as the average 2011-2019 level. While this may indicate some stability in natural resource industries overall, this stability is a combination of large increases in recreation and tourism and decreases in industries like fishing. The percentage of natural resource industry employment out of total employment ranges from approximately 1 and 2 percent in Thurston and King Counties, respectively, to a little over 14 percent in San Juan County. The percentage of natural resource industry wages out of total wages ranges from approximately 1 percent each in Thurston, King, and Snohomish Counties to over 18 percent in San Juan County. This range across counties illustrates the relative contribution of natural resource industries to each county’s economy. Natural resource industries tend to be a higher percentage of wage and employment in smaller, more rural counties and counties that have historically relied on the timber and agriculture industries.
The relatively small percentages in employment and wages in natural resources industries, as compared to all sectors in the regional economy, is as expected. Unlike historical trends, aerospace, information and communication technology, and military and defense far outweigh natural resource industries.
San Juan County is the only county where the percentage of natural resource industry wages is higher than the percentage of natural resource industry employment in the county. This again emphasizes the relatively high importance of natural resource industries to the local economy, particularly the growing tourism industry, in smaller, more rural counties.
Northern Economics, Inc. The Economic Impact of Shellfish Aquaculture in Washington, Oregon and California. Prepared for Pacific Shellfish Institute. April 2013.
Briceno, T., Schundler, G. Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State. Earth Economics, Tacoma, WA. Prepared for Washington Recreation and Conservation Office Olympia, WA. January 2015.
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|Percentage of Employment and Wages in Natural Resource Industries||
Percent Employment, Percent Wages