Roughly 40% of all workers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties will likely endure layoffs or wage reductions as the result of COVID-19.
A study from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Seattle-based consultancy Community Attributes says many of those jobs will return once the threat of the virus has passed, but “not all businesses will survive this challenge.”
Retailers, restaurants and hotels will be hit hardest. All told, 419,400 workers face immediate risk and 961,400 workers fall into the “near-risk” category. Most of those make between $15 and $25 per hour.
“A very select few industries may see temporary increased demand, such as household supplies and food providers,” the report says. “Some industries may be able to cope through at-home working and new routines, but all industries will be negatively impacted through 2020.”
The report lists some obvious reasons for the decline, including reductions in consumer and business spending; cancellation of events; plummeting tourism; lost wages; global supply chain disruptions, but the numbers themselves paint a grim picture.
Regional marketing agency Visit Seattle estimates that the lost economic impact of canceled events at the Washington State Convention Center alone equals almost $35 million in March and April. As of mid-March, airlines had canceled 554 international flights out of Sea-Tac Airport.
The report, though, also lists several actions to spur economic recovery, including loosening government lending and monetary policies, giving renters and borrowers flexibility to repay loans and giving direct financial assistance to struggling employers, workers and households.