This week’s Benton-Franklin Trends report shines a light on the region’s top five economic drivers — professional and business services, government, manufacturing, retail trade and health care.
Not surprising, professional services and government dominate the local gross domestic product. Together, they represented $4.3 billion in activity in 2014.
The real action is at the bottom of the list. Health care and social assistance accounted for the smallest slice of the GDP pie in 2014, about $745 million.
But they’re growing faster than any other sector. Health care and related spending soared 67 percent from 2002-14, according to inflation adjusted figures.
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At that rate, it will account for $1.2 billion in 2026 and will surpass two longstanding economic pillars: Retail and manufacturing.
Here’s how all five sectors shake out:
At $2.6 billion, professional and business services are the region’s most important sectors. Relative to the others, though, they’re growing slowly, only 2 percent from 2002-14.
Next up is government spending, which 28 percent to $1.6 billion for the same period.
No. 3 manufacturing increased 45 percent to $753 million, and No. 5 retail trade increased 35 percent to $751 million.
Overall, the combined Benton-Franklin GDP rose just 0.9 percent from 2013-14, according to Trends, which based its research on GDP and personal income data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That puts the area behind Washington, which reported a 3.1 percent growth rate, and the U.S., which clocked in at 2.2 percent, over the same period.
Benton-Franklin Trends is an initiative of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis at Eastern Washington University to measure the economic, educational and civic health of the community. It publishes a new statistic every week at bit.ly/BFTrends.
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