The Puyallup Tribe moved up on the 2012 Major Employers List, as did Costco and Walmart.
The City of Tacoma, as expected, went down.
Released earlier today, the annual list has been compiled by the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County and counts companies with 100 or more employees.
The 2012 version may hold few surprises, but the author says it does offer hope.
Among the results:
• Joint Base Lewis-McChord continued to employ the county’s largest number of people, with 56,624 employees. (Another official compilation, which includes workers at the Yakima Training Center, offers a count above 63,000 employees.)
• MultiCare Health System continued to lead the number of private employers in the county.
• A handful of major employers, including Safeway, Macy’s, Target and Rite-Aid, did not respond to inquiries from the EDB, said Chris Green, vice president for business retention and expansion at the board. Green compiled the 2012 list.
• 78 employers grew in employment on the 2012 list, 44 were unchanged and 67 decreased.
• 15 employers from the 2011 list do not appear this year because of mergers or because they fell below the 100-employee threshold.
• Eight employers were added to the 2012 list.
• All health care employers – Franciscan Health System, Group Health and MultiCare – grew this year.
• Led by Pabco Roofing, with 78 percent growth, several construction companies also reported higher employment. These include Active Construction, Tucci & Sons and Carl T. Madsen.
• Manufacturers also grew, especially in aerospace. Boeing’s Frederickson operation grew by 17 percent, and AIM Aerospace in Sumner reached 380 employees, up 35 percent. General Plastics, Globe Machine and Precision Machine Works also showed increases. Other manufacturers – including Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, up 79 percent – also grew. The list includes James Hardie Building Products, Northwest Door, Jesse Engineering and Bradken Atlas.
• The advent of private liquor sales promoted Southern Wine and Spirits to the list, adding 218 jobs.
• Sound Credit Union, following its merger with Watermark Credit Union, increased by 71 percent. Other companies also indicated growth, including Coca Cola, Gordon Trucking, Associated Petroleum Products, Robert Larson Automotive Group, Tacoma Screw Products and Columbia Bank, among others.
• No public-sector employers increased employment compared with the 2011 list.
“It’s always hard to make big generalizations from this set of data,” said Green. “You’re looking at the biggest employers, and in dozens and dozens of conversations, it did seem clear to me that employers were saying that things are better than they were a year ago.”
Green said he believed “there is some reason to think things are getting better. We heard more people than usual saying they hope to increase employment next year. We’ve heard more positive remarks than we did over the past three years.”
Anecdotally, Green said, “this is much more positive than last year.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535 email@example.com