During the past five years, no major county in the United States had a greater increase in personal income growth than Snohomish County. This latest information continues a trend that has seen Snohomish County emerge as a national leader in fiscal planning and responsibility.
“This is not by accident,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “We’ve made the conscious effort to make Snohomish County the most competitive county in the state.”
Snohomish County’s personal income expanded by 40 percent, the largest five-year increase among major counties.
“This is not just about a job, it’s about high-paying jobs,” Reardon said. “It’s about creating jobs that allow our residents to afford a home and send their children to college.”
In 2009, Snohomish County residents earned a total of $30.3 billion, according to research conducted by the American City Business Journals. That was an increase from $29.8 billion in 2008 and $21.6 billion in 2004.
Reardon believes that the encouraging economic figures are a direct result of a hand-in-hand working relationship with the County Council and the diligent work of the executive finance team. Reardon also cited county initiatives in the Aerospace industry and the leadership and involvement of the Workforce Development Board as key factors in the growing financial momentum.
“We’re just a little different in Snohomish County,“ Reardon said. “While others are in freefall, we calmly plan for tomorrow. When times are tough, we rally. Instead of focusing on what we can’t do—we identify what we can do. And we do it well.”
The county’s push to launch the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field—the first institution of its kind in the region – has resulted in a wave of qualified applicants for high-wage local jobs. Early numbers have been extraordinarily positive: over 90 percent of the center’s graduates have moved on to local aerospace careers.
“We’re giving workers the advanced skills they need to build tomorrow’s airplanes, which in turn provides Boeing with a skilled local workforce. When the State failed to meet Boeing’s needs, we stepped up. Our actions send the clear message that we value our aerospace jobs, and we want to continue to be the home to the tens of thousands of men and women who build the best airplanes in the world,” Reardon said.
The explosion in income growth is a sign that the County may be poised to reap rewards sowed by the strategic measures implemented ahead of the Great Recession. While other municipalities are awash in red ink, Snohomish County projects a 2011 year-end fund balance in excess of $23 million dollars (over 12 percent in relation to revenues)—a figure Reardon has achieved without a single general fund property tax increase in his eight year administration.
“Snohomish County is on track, in the black and moving forward,” Reardon said. “We’re committed to creating opportunities for the families who call Snohomish County home.”