(The Center Square) – New data analysis of Redmond’s economy shows a reliance on the technology sector and a need to diversify the local economy.
The city’s Economic Development Strategic Plan data analysis revealed that Redmond employment grew by more than 21,000 jobs over the last 10 years, with roughly 76% of the growth in employment stemming from the information technology and interactive media sector.
Over the same period, the manufacturing sector lost more than 1,000 jobs.
Participants for outreach in the Redmond Comprehensive Plan Update suggested that continuing reliance on the technology industry could result in economic and cultural homogeneity, loss of small businesses, and housing affordability challenges.
“Diversification of economic activity is important given the reliance of Redmond’s economy on the tech sector,” said Senior Economist Madalina Calen at a Tuesday Redmond City Council meeting.
From 2007 to 2023, Redmond’s industrial inventory declined by 2%. According to the analysis, comparable cities with similar demographics to Redmond lost more than 30% in this same period. These cities include: Mountain View, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., Bellevue, Wash., and Bothell, Wash.
The one exception was Hillsboro, Ore., which added 45% more industrial space.
Redmond’s industrial vacancy rate experienced an all-time low of .1% in 2022 but has since risen to 2.9%
When comparing the office vacancy rate to what the analysis calls “benchmark cities,” Redmond has the lowest rate of just under 4%, according to Calen. In comparison, Bellevue’s office vacancy rate is 12%.
The Economic Development Strategic Plan started in August and is currently in the data analysis and community stakeholder engagement phase.
The next steps for the plan includes finalizing the landscape and data analysis and a return to the Redmond City Council early next year for further discussion.
A final strategic plan is anticipated in April 2024.