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Originally published February 13, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Page modified February 13, 2015 at 10:56 PM

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State’s aerospace sector slims down, but economic impact grows

An updated assessment of aerospace’s outsized impact on Washington state estimates that last year the industry supported 267,000 jobs here and paid out $22 billion in wages and $635 million in state taxes.


Seattle Times aerospace reporter

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The number of Washington workers employed directly in aerospace edged down last year, but the industry’s overall economic impact still grew, according to a new analysis commissioned by advocates for the industry.

Last year, the state had 93,400 aerospace jobs, down 800 from the previous year, a decline that was largely due to job cuts at Boeing.

Yet the increased economic impact was also due to Boeing, because of its injection of $320 million last January when each member of the Machinist union was paid a ratification bonus of $10,000 after they voted to extend their contract and accept a pension freeze to secure the 777X for the state.

“That really boosted overall wages, even though the jobs actually went down,” said Spencer Cohen, the analyst with Seattle-based consulting firm Community Attributes Inc. (CAI) who prepared the data.

The extra spending by Boeing Machinists supported a lot of indirect jobs in sectors such as retail and auto sales, Cohen said.

As a result, the new study estimates that in 2014 the aerospace industry supported a total of 267,000 direct and indirect jobs that paid out $22 billion in wages.

CAI estimates the state took in $635 million in taxes due to aerospace activity, including $201 million in direct business taxes paid by aerospace companies, plus additional business taxes paid by suppliers to those companies and sales taxes on items bought by employees.

Boeing’s commercial-jet activities generated $528 million in taxes for the state including direct taxes paid by Boeing, direct taxes paid by Boeing suppliers, and sales taxes directly and indirectly linked to its business.

CAI’s analysis was commissioned by the Washington Aerospace Partnership, a coalition of local government, business and labor interests.

The 2014 decline in aerospace jobs is due to Boeing, which has transferred some work out of state and cut positions here.

Nevertheless, the company’s economic impact on the state grew last year, not only from the extra wages in those bonuses but also because revenue from the Commercial Airplanes unit grew by almost $10 billion as jet deliveries soared.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com



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