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How to lift Washington’s aerospace industry

Jay Inslee
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, shown here with Boeing’s Everett plant in the background, says he intends to keep the state on the “cutting edge” in aerospace. (Credit: Jay Inslee via Flickr)

LYNNWOOD, Wash. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee today laid out a down-to-earth prescription for keeping the Evergreen State competitive in the aerospace industry, which a new report says is having a steady economic impact.

“I’ve lived here for 65 years, and I’ve never been more confident about aerospace and the future in the state of Washington,” the first-term Democratic governor told an audience here at the 11th annual Governor’s Aerospace Summit, presented by the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington.

A draft assessment, prepared by Seattle-based Community Attributes for the Washington Aerospace Partnership, estimates the state aerospace industry’s total impact during 2015 at $94.7 billion in revenues, which is 9.4 percent above the previous year’s figure.

Employment in aerospace and related industries was estimated at 136,100 jobs in 2015, up from 132,500 in 2012. That doesn’t include the impact of Boeing workforce reductions that were announced this year.

When indirect effects such as spending by aerospace workers are taken into account, the employment impact rises to 252,800 jobs.

The report says aerospace employees earned an average wage of $107,000, not including benefits, which is nearly twice the state’s overall average wage of $54,000.

“This report shows us why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect and grow the aerospace industry in Washington,” said John Thornquist, director of the state’s Office of Aerospace.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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