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New Study Highlights Washington State’s Booming Maritime Sector

wash report

According to a recent analysis by the McKinley Research Group, Washington’s Maritime industry was a significant generator of economic activity for the entire state in 2022. Over the year, the Maritime industry supported nearly 175,000 jobs, $14.4 billion in labor income, and $45.9 billion in business revenues. Furthermore, activity in the Maritime sector generated an estimated $382 million in state taxes to the benefit of all Washington residents.

Some of the report’s most significant findings were focused on Maritime jobs. Every job directly situated in the industry created another 2.8 jobs across the state economy. The average annual salary for Maritime jobs in the state reached $112,000 (including benefits), particularly heartening given that many of those occupations did not require a college degree. Although many of these jobs are located along Puget Sound, Maritime career opportunities could be found around the state through river ports, recreational activities, and logistics. 

Although Seattle-Tacoma is a vital container port for international shipping across the Pacific, much of the Maritime workforce in the state sails under the U.S. flag. For one, Washington has the largest ferry system in the United States, with a fleet of 21 vessels transporting an annual 17 million passengers. The Puget Sound is also essential to domestic shipping operations, particularly vessels bound for Alaska and Hawaii. The state’s shipyards service Jones Act-compliant vessels, whether they be fishing boats or cargo ships. 

The report also praised Washington’s role as an innovation hub in the Maritime world, particularly regarding environmental stewardship. It cited efforts such as the recent electrification of the state-run ferry system, as well as its participation in Green Marine (an environmental certification program for the Maritime industry). It also called attention to marine design firms and the increasing focus on efficiency in the shipyards as areas for greater economic growth. 

“This report proves comprehensively what we’ve been saying for years,” added Puget Sound Ports Council Secretary-Treasurer Gordon Baxter. “The Washington Maritime industry is not just a breadwinner for the state, but a trendsetting powerhouse nationwide.” 

To access the full report and its findings, click here.

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