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Seattle economy firing on all cylinders – except these two

The last recession is long gone, but jobs still haven’t recovered in two major sectors. Both are tied to that last big bust: construction and financial services. 

The financial services sector isn’t back because lending is a much tighter business than it was during the run-up to the economic collapse in 2008.

The legions of bankers that used to be needed are no longer required.

But the construction workforce still isn’t back to pre-bust levels, not even in booming Seattle. But no sector was hit harder during the Great Recession than construction. A third of the jobs here disappeared.

“Recovering from a drop of that magnitude understandably is taking a long time,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Seattle metro region economist for the Washington Employment Security Department.

Vance-Sherman said the last boom was so driven by the housing bubble that it’s probably not fair to expect construction jobs to come back to that point. “I don’t really look at that particular point in time as necessarily normal and representative,” she said.

The last recession traumatized people who worked in construction, and it left a scar that has chased people away from the sector.  

“Some of those people found other jobs in different industries and aren’t going to go back to construction,” Vance-Sherman said. “Some have found jobs in construction again. And some who are new to the labor market are not interested in going into construction. “

So construction jobs aren’t back to their old levels, and yet it seems there’s no one available to finish your home project.