Snohomish County Council Chair: Boeing decision will damage local economy

Oct 1, 2020, 5:03 AM | Updated: 10:48 am
Boeing 787...
Boeing celebrates the 787 Dreamliner at its debut July 8, 2007. (Boeing)

Boeing has plans to consolidate its 787 Dreamliner assembly, including its operations in Everett, and will move production to South Carolina, according to The Wall Street Journal. This move was later confirmed by Boeing on Oct. 1.

Snohomish County Council chair Nate Nehring joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH before the move was officially announced to discuss what it would mean for the county.

“I think this is going to have a tremendous impact on Snohomish County,” he said. “I think that we’re going to see the negative effects of this ripple throughout our local economy. In Everett alone, we’ve got over 30,000 highly skilled workers working at the Boeing plant, and I think it’s a significant number of those jobs are at risk.”

County ‘deeply disappointed’ in Boeing decision to move 787 production out of Everett

“It’s not just Boeing jobs which will be impacted by this. But if you think about our entire region in aerospace, we have the largest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the Western U.S. — over 1,400 aerospace businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs that are tied to aerospace and, in one way or another, are connected to Boeing,” he added. “So I think this decision will certainly affect our workforce in our region. And that, in turn, will have a significant impact on our local economy as we see less money being spent in our area.”

This comes at a time when local economy is already struggling, and budgets have had to be revised in order to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis.

“In 2020, it seems like it’s just one thing after another with COVID, and the shutdown, and now this news,” Nehring said. “It’s just a cumulative impact on our local economy. I think that the biggest, first impact is going to be on our workforce. Obviously, if people are losing jobs and we’ve got unemployment rising in our area … People don’t have jobs, they have less discretionary money to go out and spend and frequent local businesses and spend money in their local communities. And so that’ll in turn damage the rest of the local economy.”

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Considering the numerous struggles Boeing has faced in addition to coronavirus, does Nehring understand where Boeing might be coming from, and is there anything that could have been done to try and keep them there?

“I, obviously, would prefer that they had consolidated here in Everett,” he said. “And I think that our workforce here is second to none … But I think if you look at maybe the reasons behind the decision, there’s a number that you could point to, and some of them there’s not a whole lot that we could do anything about. For example, the coronavirus has obviously taken a huge tally on passenger flights and internal jet production. And then the company has been having some manufacturing issues before the virus with some of their aircraft.”

Inslee’s damaged relationship with Boeing

“But I think one of the reasons that really can’t be ignored is that Washington state’s not exactly a business friendly environment,” Nehring added. “I heard the other day that Governor Inslee was asked about Boeing before this announcement was made, and he made a comment about how he’s called them, but they won’t return his calls, and it’s like, yeah, you’ve got to wonder why that might be, right?”

“When you spent two terms fighting against our largest employer and significantly damaging that relationship, it’s really no wonder that they’re looking elsewhere.”

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Snohomish County Council Chair: Boeing decision will damage local economy