Overall, Washington state is thriving. According to a new report from the Washington Roundtable and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it is a top-five state for per-capita income growth and ranks among the top 10 states for job growth. At current momentum, BCG estimates that our state will produce 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. However, the statewide data masks a complex regional narrative in which prosperity is spread unevenly, and communities are outright struggling.
The new report, Unlocking Washington’s Full Potential, takes an in-depth look at regional economic performance to better understand growth trends and what may be holding some regions back.
Key Findings: There is opportunity to maintain Washington’s top-five position for per-capita income growth and boost its position to become a top-five state for job growth by bridging the urban-rural divide and driving growth that is distributed more equitably statewide. To become a top-five state for job growth, Washington must create 250,000 jobs, in addition to those already projected, by 2027. The state can realize 120,000, or nearly half, of the additional jobs needed to reach the top-five goal by raising economic performance in regions outside the North I-5 Corridor up to the state’s average growth rate. To do that, key challenges in five areas must be addressed: human capital, infrastructure, innovation ecosystem, trade and investment, and regulation.
Framework for Growth: The report also puts forward a framework for fostering growth that is diversified (not concentrated in one industry) and inclusive (balanced across all regions and benefiting individuals in all). It includes actionable recommendations in each of the five focus areas and urges state and regional leaders to pursue new policies that will bridge the urban-rural divide and drive equitable economic growth.