South Sound Science: Pete Swensson

Pete Swensson, Senior Planner Thurston Regional Planning Council, spoke on “South Sound population growth projections.”

How forecasting is done, our changing economic base, pattern of growth

Where population growth and decline comes from:  birth rates and death rates change slowly, but migration is highly variable.  We need to look at economics and demographics to find labor force supply and demand

currently our growth is slowing due to state gov’t employment growth slowdown (since Intiative 601) and recession

gov’t share of jobs is falling

There are more commuters between Puget Sound counties.  We’re “NOT YET a ‘bedroom community'” 

outbound commuters “bring more earnings into local economy than State Government”

Commuters from Pierce and King (8,700) combined is approximately equal to commuters from Mason, Grays Harbors, and Lewis counties (8,900)

growth is cyclical and comes in spurts

“For the first time since the early ’80s, Thurston employment is droppping,”  but “TRPC forecasts a return of rapid long-term growth for Thurston.”

Long term models cannot predict the timing of recessions or recovers, but are good for major trends.

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