How Puget Sound’s diverse economy offsets Boeing decision to move 787 line

Oct 9, 2020, 1:02 PM

Boeing 787...

Boeing 787 Dreamliners sit on the assembly line June 13, 2012, at the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

With Boeing recently announcing that it will be moving all of its 787 production out of Everett by mid-2021, how will this affect the region’s economy? Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner stopped by Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Radio to weigh in.

Local workers react to Boeing decision to move 787 out of Everett

In total, the downstream effects from Boeing’s decision will likely see roughly 4,000 to 5,000 jobs leave Snohomish County, hitting restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses typically frequented by the company’s workers.

That said, the sum total of the hit to the Puget Sound region’s economy is a little more difficult to quantify.

“I think there’s two ways to look at it in terms of Boeing, one of which is: Are they still important to our regional economy?,” Gardner posited. “The answer is, obviously, ‘absolutely they are,’ on a dollar basis.”

“On the other hand, the diversification that we’ve seen, and quite frankly we’ve been seeing it for the last 40 years, is going to offset some of the pain that will be felt with those layoffs,” he added.

Boeing pulls eight 787s with structural defects

Since Boeing first arrived in the Northwest, Washington state has seen other companies take root, each helping to prop up the business economy in their own way. That includes Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia, as well as out-of-state companies like Facebook and Google, which have established sizable presences of their own in the Seattle area.

Because of that, Gardner doesn’t see Boeing’s decision to move the 787 line out of Everett as something that will have a major effect statewide.

“Obviously, the biggest impact is going to be up in Snohomish County,” he noted. “However, I don’t think it is significant enough that it has the ability to lead our region into a negative growth scenario.”

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