Economic Impact

A driving force behind Washington's economy

2017 Economic Impact

Marine cargo operations through The Northwest Seaport Alliance provide significant jobs and revenue to Washington state—a state where 40% of jobs are tied to trade.

study released in January 2019 highlights the 2017 impact of the marine cargo operations in our North and South Harbors:

  • Supported 58,400 jobs
  • Contributed nearly $12.4 billion in business output
  • Produced more than $4 billion in labor income
  • Generated $135.9 million in state taxes

The jobs equation


The study focused on direct, indirect and induced jobs.

  • 20,100 direct jobs: These include trucking companies and railroads moving cargo to and from terminals, and warehouses, longshore workers, steamship agents and freight forwarders.
  • 14,700 indirect jobs: These jobs are generated in supporting industries and suppliers, and include office supply firms, maintenance and repair firms, and parts and equipment suppliers.
  • 23,600 induced jobs: These are jobs created by people directly employed by marine cargo operations re-spending their wages in the community on housing, food and other consumer goods.

In 2017 more than 3.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) carrying 26.1 million metric tons of containerized cargo were handled at NWSA facilities, directly supporting 14,890 jobs, $1.5 billion in labor income (including wages and monetized benefits) and $4.5 billion in business output. In addition to containers, the NWSA imports automobiles and handles breakbulk and other marine cargo, supporting thousands of additional jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional income. 

The average annual wage for port-related jobs was $95,000, putting the marine cargo business among the top-earning industries in King and Pierce counties. For every direct job, NWSA marine cargo activities support an additional 1.9 jobs across the Washington state economy.

About the study


The economic impact study was completed in 2019 by Community Attributes Inc., a Seattle-based research agency that specializes in community and economic development, strategic planning and nonprofit advisory services.

View the study materials: