When you think of Washington state agriculture, you probably think apples. But Washington’s ag sector is much more diverse than apple and other fruit production.
The Washington State University School of Economic Sciences released a report this week that takes a wide-ranging look at the state’s agricultural activity—everything from the regional economic importance of the beef industry to the growth of the hard cider industry. Included in Washington Agribusiness: Status and Outlook are trends on the Washington state economy and labor market using Emsi data.
WSU economists and researchers contributed pieces that covered several key agricultural sectors. Among the major takeaways in the report:
- From 2004 to 2014, Washington produced on average 60% of all apples in the United States. (Yes, there’s a reason we think of Washington as the apple state.) But it’s not just apples. Washington was also the largest producer of pears (47% of total production in the US) and sweet cherries (54%).
- Washington’s beef industry contributed $1.6 billion in value added in 2013 and directly supported more than 4,000 jobs.
- The hard cider industry has grown rapidly in Washington, just like it has nationally. The US produced 53 million gallons of hard cider in 2014, up from around 10 million in 2007. Washington produced 420,000 gallons in 2014—just a fraction of the national total—but that’s up from around 50,000 in 2007.
Washington Labor Market Trends
To cap off the report, WSU used Emsi’s employment data to show industry trends across the state. This included a table (see page 46) that displayed the industrial diversity of the state and every county, using the Shannon-Weaver Diversity Index. Washington’s industrial diversity is 0.894, just below the national score of 0.908. A score of 1 would be the most diverse a region could be, so Washington—and several of the state’s counties, including King County—have a very broad mix of industries.
Note: The report’s authors used Emsi’s 2015.3 dataset and included self-employed and proprietor jobs along with standard employees.
Click here to read the full report from WSU.