Economic Vitality

The Economic Vital Sign will tell us how well natural resource-based industries are doing economically over time, as well as compared to non-natural resource-based industries.  As indicated in the Legislative Statute, the Partnership is intended to manage for functioning ecosystems that support not only natural systems but social and cultural wellbeing and economic vitality as well.  While some aspects of economic vitality may not be sensitive to Puget Sound recovery efforts, it is important to be aware of annual perturbations in industries that may be affected. These natural resource-based industries have a long-standing history in the region and their existence is important to residents of the area as they provide jobs, income, a sense of identity, cultural heritage and sense of place.


Key Messages

         Fisheries, a natural resource industry

Based on the 2019 updates to the Employment and Percent Employment indicators with data through 2016:

  • The region is making some progress with overall growth among natural resource industries, largely impacted by growth in  the recreation and tourism sector. Aquaculture, agriculture and recreation and tourism sectors all report general employment and total wages growth from 2005 to 2016.
  • The percentage of natural resource industry employment and wages out of total employment and wages varies across counties from 1 to 16 percent. Natural resource industries appears to be a higher percentage of wage and employment in smaller, more rural counties that have historically relied on these industries.
  • 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, which aligns with other subjective indicators of human wellbeing Vital Signs.

Based on previous updates of the natural resource industry output indicator with data through 2015:

  • GDP in tourism and recreation has increased consistently each year beginning in 2010 and production value remained steady in the timber sector.
  • While there is variation between Puget Sound natural resource based industries, the status of the economic health of these industries collectively, in terms of output/production value and employment, remains relatively strong.
  • In 2014, Puget Sound’s natural resource industries had an average annualized GDP growth rate of approximately 3.8 percent, which fell behind Washington State’s overall average annualized GDP growth rate of 4.4 percent.

Other Resources

Contributing Partners

Trina Wellman and Nathalie Hamel
Last Updated