Gauging the health and vitality of an area as dynamic as the Eastside is a little bit easier thanks to a handful of local organizations that track every new business hire, population spike, or additional commuting minute. As the first quarter of 2019 comes to a close, here is a look at freshly compiled data that offer insight into just how active our region really is.
Information Technology is our region’s largest industry, with global companies such as T-Mobile (headquartered in Bellevue and employing approximately 4,700 in that city) and Microsoft (headquartered in Redmond and employing approximately 35,000 people on the Eastside, and approximately 50,000 people in Washington state) among the notable Eastside employers in that industry.
Skilled workers comprise nearly two-thirds of Bellevue’s 147,647 jobs, with management, business, and science among the most popular fields.
Between January and September, the median home price was $695,000 in King County, and $950,000 on the Eastside. the median condo prices mirrored those of the King County and Eastside homes. Closed sales in October 2018 were down almost 45 percent from the same month in 2017, indicating lower inventory and higher prices for Eastside single-family homes.
More than 25 percent of Bellevue residents make at least $200,000 annually, while just 16 percent of King County residents earn that amount. Similarly, Bellevue’s median income, $121,168, is higher than King County’s, $89,675.
OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Regional transportation and housing affordability were two key issues the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition lobbied for in Olympia during the statewide Chamber Day in February.
Meanwhile, a survey of Eastside business owners showed 70 percent of respondents expected their revenues to be stronger in 2019, with only 4 percent of respondents anticipating revenues to decrease.
Between 2010 and 2020, the greater Puget Sound region counties of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish are expected to grow by approximately 4.16 million people, or 13 percent. In Bellevue, the population growth is diverse, with approximately 39 percent of residents born in other parts of the world, such as Asia (71 percent); Latin America (12 percent), and Europe (10 percent).
Bellevue’s sales tax revenue cleared $1.8 billion during each of the first three quarters in 2018, jumping to more than $2.1 billion in the third quarter. In Redmond, nearly $1 billion in taxable retail sales during the third quarter, followed by Renton with just over $800 million.
More than 2.1 million visitors contributed approximately $875 million to Bellevue’s economy, supporting more than 12,000 jobs in the city.
Drivers on the Puget Sound region’s most popular freeway corridors experienced average weekday delays grow by 7.3 percent between 2015 to 2017.
Meanwhile, transportation and infrastructure congestion at the state and local levels is the biggest challenge facing Eastside business leaders.
SOURCES: Employment (Bellevue Chamber; Puget Sound Regional Council); Housing (Northwest Multiple Listing Service); Income (Bellevue Chamber); Obstacles and Opportunities (East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition; Bellevue Chamber); Population (Puget Sound Regional Council); Tax Revenue (Washington State Department of Revenue); Tourism (Visit Bellevue); and Transportation (Washington State Department of Transportation; Bellevue Chamber).