Newsletter – February 2017

Our overall economic outlook for 2017 looks promising.  There are plans for future growth and development ahead of us. Lewis County is in the running for several large projects. Our organization is ramping up to address workforce development in the coming months. The future economy depends on a skilled workforce that is ready to go to work.

Economic Outlook 2017

The big picture outlook for the U.S. economy is strong for 2017. There is a lot to anticipate in 2017. The dollar is strong and is projected to continue to stay strong. There is some uncertainty with the President making announcements about renegotiating trade agreements. The stock market is responding positively to the President overtures as the markets are setting records.

Oil prices are low at $54 plus a barrel. Oil prices are starting to edge upward. However, the housing marketing is coming back nationally and locally with housing starts up locally.

The growth industries to watch this year are: health care, distribution, manufacturing, and construction.

The Statewide unemployment average is 5.3% and the unemployment rate for Lewis County was 8.2% in December. Unemployment will likely dip as we move towards summer with a  drop to about 7.7%.

There are also some uncertainties with regards to global instability, the Fed increasing rates, emerging economies, and workforce.

2017 will prove to be an interesting year.

 Community & Workforce Development

Workforce Development Grant:

U.S. Department of Labor has extended an opportunity to communities affected by changes in the coal industry. Our community is the only one in the State of Washington that is eligible to apply for the grant. Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council is leading this effort to create a scope of work to serve those affected by changes to the coal industry. This grant opportunity will be a partnership between the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, Centralia College, and the EDC.

Marketing

Northwestern Logistics:

EDC had the opportunity to assist Northwestern Logistics in their site selection process. We reviewed more than a dozen properties, reaching out to owners and neighboring businesses to find a property that best meet site requirements. Ultimately, they chose a property off Highway 6 towards Adna. We are excited to welcome a new company in to our community.

Plastic West & MDM Trade Show

Benjamin Baria, our marketing manager, attended the Plastic West & MDM Trade Show in Anaheim along with our consultant “Site Location Partnership”. The show hosted 20,000 attendees from several industries including: plastics, technology, advanced manufacturing, and medical equipment. The show provided an excellent opportunity to meet companies and develop recruitment leads.

In addition to the expo our consultant SLP hosted a networking event where we met with other site selectors and real estate professionals with a focus on developing leads.

Business Retention & Expansion

Trans Alta legislation:

The EDC had the opportunity to testify in favor of companion bills in the House and Senate that would create tax incentives for Trans Alta to move to natural gas. The proposed legislation provides a tax deferral for the sales and use tax on the construction of a gas fired power plant by Trans Alta. Washington State provides an incentive for the construction of new gas power plants; it does not provide a provision for the conversion from one fuel source to natural gas.

Trans Alta generation provides family-wage jobs that are significantly higher than our County average wage and above the State average of $55,000. The projected economic impact of a gas fired power plant is $23 million into our economy.

Trans Alta Generation is a significant part of the Power generation portfolio, and the continuing operation of the facility is important to the Northwest power supply; including rural and urban areas. Through converting to lower carbon natural gas, the plant can continue to provide reliable baseload power and to help keep electricity costs competitive as additional renewable power generation is brought online.  Importantly, converting to natural gas will reduce the carbon footprint of the facility by more than 50 percent.

It is important to our community that HB 2715 be passed to provide the incentives needed to transition this facility for the future.

RB Engineering

RB Engineering specializes in civil engineering; land planning; and project management services in support of commercial, industrial, and residential land development. Their staff brings over 25 years of experience in the design and management of a wide variety of civil engineering projects including streets, water & sewer systems, private utilities, and storm water management facilities. They are looking for an engineer with 5 years of experience that has their civil license so if you have any referrals please contact us.

 

The EDC’s activities please contact Matt Matayoshi matt@lewisedc.com or (360) 748-0114