AWB Kicks Off Manufacturing Bus Tour
Statewide bus tour highlights importance of Washington’s manufacturing sector
PORT TOWNSEND — The Association of Washington Business hit the road this morning for a six-day, 2,000-mile statewide bus tour in support of Washington’s manufacturing economy.
The first of two buses left Port Townsend early Friday with stops planned from Port Hadlock to Hoquiam.
The tour resumes Sunday when a second bus departs Olympia and the two buses will crisscross the state for the rest of the week, stopping at nearly 60 manufacturing companies in every corner of the state.
“Washington is home to thousands of manufacturers, innovative makers of everything from world-class wine, airplanes and boats to all-weather notebooks,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “We thought a statewide bus tour would be a great opportunity to meet with some of them and their employees and call attention to issues facing all of them.”
Manufacturers help drive Washington’s economy, accounting for more than 13 percent of total economic output and employing nearly 9 percent of the workforce, according to 2015 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Manufacturing careers pay well, too — nearly $87,000 average annual compensation compared to $57,000 for other industries.
But the manufacturing sector needs support. Since 2000, Washington’s manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 50,000, according to the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. This includes a drop of nearly 48,000 in non-aerospace employment.
“The overall health of Washington’s economy depends on a vibrant, growing manufacturing sector in every corner of the state,” Johnson said. “We are fortunate to have a strong foundation to build on, but we can’t take these careers for granted. It’s clear that we can do more to support this important piece of our economy.”
A map with details about each of the stops will be updated here. Highlights of the schedule are listed below:
- Friday, Sept. 29: Port Hadlock, Bremerton, Shelton, McCleary, Hoquiam
- Monday, Oct. 2: Interstate 5 corridor from Olympia to Vancouver (Bus 1); Bellingham, Skagit County (Bus 2)
- Tuesday, Oct. 3: Yakima Valley, Tri-Cities (Bus 1); Wenatchee, Colville (Bus 2)
- Wednesday, Oct. 4: Spokane, Moses Lake, Ellensburg (Bus 1); Pullman, Walla Walla (Bus 2)
- Thursday, Oct. 5: Kent, Redmond, Seattle
- Friday, Oct. 6: Interstate 5 corridor from Seattle to Tumwater