Manufacturing is a bedrock of the state’s economy. It accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and approximately 11% of the state’s total economic output.
Those jobs tend to pay above average, too, with an average salary of $80,000.
That’s good news, but imagine what it would mean for Washington’s economy if the state doubled the number of manufacturing jobs.
What would it mean for communities? What would it mean for young people looking to build a career? What would it mean for families?
Every October, the Association of Washington Business hits the road in a custom-wrapped bus and tours the state’s manufacturers to call attention to the state’s manufacturing economy. This year, part of the message we’re taking on the road is about House Bill 1170, also known as the Washington BEST Manufacturing Act.
The bill, which was approved unanimously by the Legislature this year, calls for a doubling of Washington’s manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years, along with a doubling of the number of manufacturing firms owned by women and people of color.
It is an ambitious and inspiring goal. Achieving it won’t be easy. If we’re going to have a chance of achieving it, here are some areas that Washington will need to address:
There is no single answer, but addressing those five areas will help give Washington a chance of doubling its manufacturing base in the next decade.
Can Washington really double its manufacturing base in the next 10 years? Let’s hope so. When manufacturing thrives, Washington thrives.
Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.
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