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48 Percent of Pierce County’s Workers Commute Outside the County

Results of Months-long Studies Shared with County Council Today

Post Date:10/11/2016 3:06 PM

CONTACT: LINDA NGUYEN, 253.254.7607 


TACOMA, WA – Today, at a meeting of the Pierce County Council’s Economic Development Committee, WorkForce Central released data and analysis on trends in Pierce County’s workforce, key occupations with shortages, and supply and demand in the top six employment sectors.

“In order to make sound policy and investment decisions, we need reliable data,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “As we continue to work closely with our many partners to address workforce development opportunities and challenges, these studies will provide a foundation from which strategic and collaborative action will be taken.”

The data came from a series of recent studies commissioned by WorkForce Central on behalf of the Workforce Development Council of Pierce County. Findings in the reports reveal the depth of commuter patterns in Pierce County – nearly half (48 percent) of the county’s workers commute outside of the county for work. As a result, the county has more workers than it has jobs, but employers who were interviewed during the studies report difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill local vacancies. Other key findings include:

  • Employers cite a need to improve essential/soft skills among jobseekers.
  • Employers are concerned by a deficit in basic math skills.
  • Pierce County faces a continuing shortage of registered nurses (RNs), and as employers try to fill in the gap with licensed practical nurses (LPNs), this occupation will also face a shortage.
  • Employers prefer recruiting through workforce development and educational programs than via online job boards.
  • Three sectors (construction, advanced manufacturing, and transportation, warehousing and logistics) want to reach more high school students and young adults to demonstrate well-paying career pathways that require less than a four-year degree.
  • Each of the county’s top six private industries can expect growth through 2023.

Summaries of the findings and links to the full reports can be found at

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.


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