Here we are in mid-August of 2021. It has been six weeks since Governor Inslee’s orders to reopen as a state, and Washington’s economy continues to be steady even as we respond to growing threats from the Delta variant.
Nationally, as of Q2, all sectors of the economy have gradually returned to pre-pandemic levels and are outpacing sustained growth in the job markets. The leisure and hospitality industries have a high employment gap of around 13% compared to the 2-4% gaps in other sectors, yet they have been experiencing the most substantial rate of gap closure—likely due to an increase in earnings of over 10% since January. Despite slower hiring in retail, weekly earnings for retail workers have outpaced overall wage growth.
Non-wage benefits, such as job security and worker satisfaction, have affected the balance of employment recovery, as are broad differences in wage growth and demand for both high and low-wage jobs.
With Washington State’s vaccination rate approaching 70% for those over the age of 12, the likelihood of economic recovery in Washington state remains strong throughout Q3 and the remainder of the year.