Washington State ranks “most competitive” in U.S. by a wide margin for aerospace manufacturing

Independent researchers looked at 41 metrics in every state and DC; Washington’s dense aerospace “supercluster” is unmatched

Seattle — Washington state is the best, most competitive, location in the U.S. for aerospace design and manufacturing, according to a comprehensive, independent report released today by Gov. Jay Inslee and members of the Choose Washington New Middle-of-the-Market Airplane (NMA) Council.

Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, led by Vice President of Analysis Richard Aboulafia and Senior Economist Tom Zoretich, and research firm Olympic Analytics conducted the Aerospace Competitive Economics Study (Teal Report), an analysis of the competitive advantages and disadvantages for aerospace manufacturing in all 50 states and D.C.  The Teal Report employs a rankings system to grade states across 41 metrics, grouped in eight categories, measuring factors relevant to aerospace production, like cost structure, skilled labor availability, global trade connectivity and tax climate.

Gov. Jay Inslee said, “Washington has an aerospace supercluster like none other in the country. The Teal report shows that by any measure, Washington is leading the way and offers the most competitive environment and workforce for companies seeking to build world-class planes.”

Jon Holden, IAM District 751 president, said an important innovation used in this study was how the researchers ranked labor costs.  “The Teal Report looks not just at the basic cost of the labor, but they also looked at the output of that labor. What they found is that machinists and engineers here in Washington are very efficient and productive. We produce more aerospace output per dollar cost of labor than almost anywhere else. So Washington ranks very well in the labor cost criteria.”

Richard Aboulafia said that manufacturing siting decisions are more important today than ever before. “The aerospace assembly business is hypercompetitive and involves tremendous risk.  Manufacturers want to make decisions, especially the critical decision about where to assemble, where there’s the lowest possible risk and the highest potential for success.”

Brian Bonlender, director of the state Department of Commerce, said the Teal Report provides the NMA Council with a road map for strengthening the case for building the next new Boeing aircraft in Washington. “Washington outscores every state – and that’s great news – but the report also shows where we can make improvements. We’ll be taking a hard look at what we and our partners can do to improve our competitiveness.”

Kelly Maloney, Aerospace Futures Alliance president and CEO, said, “The Teal Report confirms Washington is uniquely positioned to support new airplane development through our aerospace industry supercluster – a $70 billion economic driver supporting more than 250,000 jobs.”

Download a copy of the report.

Gov. Inslee created the Choose Washington NMA Council to lead a multi-pronged, broad-based, statewide campaign to demonstrate Washington’s position as the site with the lowest risk and highest return on Boeing’s potential investment to design, produce, and assemble the new airplane.

The Choose Washington NMA Council is led by business, labor, education, economic development and elected leaders. The Council is chaired by Dr. Noel Schulz, a Washington State University engineering professor, and Rick Bender, a former president of the Washington State Labor Council.



Washington local leaders on Teal Report on Aerospace Competitiveness Economics

“Strong regional partnerships are critical to ensuring that the NMA is designed, produced and assembled here in Everett. The study provides us with a great benchmark to highlight our collective global advantages and identify areas where we can innovate and invest to seize emerging economic opportunities. The Everett community embraces our amazing aerospace workforce and supply chain, as well as the Boeing Company.  I look forward to working collaboratively with our partners throughout the state.” Cassie Franklin, Mayor of Everett.

“We are working hard to land the NMA in Snohomish County, the current home of the most innovative wide-body planes built by the best workforce in the world. If the NMA is built in Snohomish County, it will be good for our region and state. It will also help strengthen our existing supply chain. We appreciate having a better understanding of our relative strengths and weaknesses.” Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive

“There are few aerospace analysts as respected as Richard Aboulafia and the Teal Group. Their conclusion that Washington is best place for aerospace manufacturing in the nation comes as no surprise around here. It is one more proof point that we have the skills,  capabilities, and know-how to make sure the next generation Boeing airplane is ‘Made in Washington.’” Dow Constantine, King County Executive

“The Spokane region boasts the second largest aerospace industry cluster in Washington State, and is well positioned to support the growth of new-to-market and existing airplane programs. As a founding member of the Governor’s NMA Council, we are dedicated to working with our partners to promote the advantages of Washington as the premier location for aerospace design and manufacturing.” Todd Mielke, CEO, Greater Spokane Inc. 

“Spokane’s aerospace cluster in the I-90 Corridor and at Spokane International Airport is an ecosystem of 240 aerospace and MRO companies with over 8,000 highly-skilled employees who play a critical role in Boeing’s supply chain.  These companies, in alignment with labor, workforce, education and the Airport’s substantial land resources and infrastructure will deliver the efficiencies that Boeing needs for the NMA. The recently formed Airport Area Public Development Authority has been working closely with local, regional and Choose Washington partners to demonstrate the substantial strengths of our region and state to support Boeing’s NMA.  Today’s release of the Aerospace Competitiveness Economics Study is an important step in what I believe will be a winning proposal to build NMA in Washington state.” Lawrence Krauter, CEO, Spokane Airport

“New aerospace opportunities are emerging from Kitsap’s leading role in Washington State’s Defense Economy. Over the past five years a growing number of local advanced manufacturers have diversified their products and expanded their operations beyond serving Department of Defense to supplying the aerospace and space industries regionally and across the globe. In addition, established first tier aerospace aerospace manufacturing companies, such as Kitsap Composites, have relocated to and expanded operations in Kitsap County.”  John Powers, Kitsap County Economic Development Director.

“Aerospace is a major driver of jobs in Pierce County. In addition to Boeing’s Frederickson Plant and Composites Manufacturing Center, Pierce County is home to over 70 aerospace suppliers. These suppliers will play a critical role in the supply chain for Boeing’s NMA, along with the regional network of 92,000 trained aerospace workers. Winning Boeing’s next aircraft requires a team effort and, as a member in the NMA Council, I’m confident we will be able to take the results of the Teal Group study and help shape a successful proposal.” Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Executive.


Penny Thomas, penny.thomas@commerce.wa.gov, t: 206-256-6106, m: 360-704-9489

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