Economic Impact of Maritime Industry in Washington State

New report shows strong health of industry, increased average salaries and tremendous opportunity to continue to grow maritime jobs

Earlier today at the April 2017 Propeller Club luncheon, attended by maritime industry and other regional, community and business leaders, the Washington Maritime Federation released the Washington State Maritime Sector Economic Impact Study 2017 Update. This study updates the seminal 2013 study of the same name and provides a detailed analysis of the positive economic impact of the state’s maritime industry.

“This study builds upon past efforts and clearly shows the maritime industry is a cornerstone of the State’s economy, providing family wage jobs and real opportunities for the next generation of maritime workers. We’ve seen consistent growth across all subsectors of the industry since the 2013 study release and we feel confident about the continued growth of maritime in the years to come,” said Washington Maritime Federation Director Mark Gleason.

“Our maritime industry continues to play a central role in Washington’s diverse, strong economy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Working waterfronts are sources of technological innovation and resilience, supporting good jobs and new business opportunities from the Pacific and Puget Sound coastlines to the Columbia River and beyond.”

The study finds the maritime sector directly supported 69,500 jobs, nearly $4.7 billion in wages, and $17.1 billion in business revenue in 2015. The average wage for a maritime worker was $67,000 in 2015 compared to the statewide average of $56,700, a significant increase over the 2013 study. For every direct job in maritime, an additional 1.8 jobs are supported through secondary impacts. When these indirect and induced impacts are factored in, the sector provided 191,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in revenue statewide.

“The maritime industry is a rich, historic and wonderful regional industry. It is very complex, and so are its workforce needs. We continue to project annual talent shortages in occupations ranging from mariners to seafood processors to freight handlers and logistics experts. Part of this shortage is from the higher numbers of expected retirements of older workers. Maritime careers are desirable options for job seekers! With annual average salaries over $67,000 and many career progression opportunities, maritime is an unsung hero industry,” said Marléna Sessions, CEO, Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County.

“One of the Port’s goals is to build the talent pipeline and connect young people to careers in the maritime industry,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “The results of this study show that maritime continues to be a cornerstone of this region’s economy, and can provide family-wage jobs for those without a college degree.”

Dr. Spencer Cohen, lead author of the study, presented the findings. The Workforce Development Council of Seattle & King County, the Transportation Institute, the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County, BNSF Railway, Wells Fargo, the Economic Development Alliance Snohomish County, the Puget Sound Ports Council- Maritime Trades Department- AFL-CIO, and the Washington State Department of Commerce provided generous support for the study.