Economic Recovery

Tracking the downtown recovery

Since the onset of COVID-19, DSA has been tracking the impact on our local economy. In the midst of a changing environment, we’ve been following dozens of metrics to trace the path to economic recovery. A few of these metrics are in the economic recovery snapshot chart below.

DSA also conducted a survey of Seattle businesses, many of whom are in industries highly impacted by measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The survey was conducted to help us better understand COVID-19’s impact on Seattle industries and their perspectives on reopening our economy.

COVID-19 Downtown Recovery Snapshot

This chart shows year-over-year statistics and measures where downtown stood for the worst month since the COVID-related downturn (orange bars), the high point (light green bars) and the most recent month (blue bars). Each bar represents a year-over-year percent change.

Summary

  • Monthly hotel revenue was down as much as 96% this year. In November, it was down 88% year-over-year.  Occupancy was down as much as 87% and is still down 80% as of November. Note that occupancy only represents rooms available in any given month (several hotels were closed during parts of 2020).
  • The number of daytime workers present in the downtown neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of office space was down 86% and is currently down 82% as of November.
  • Visitor traffic to downtown (the number of visits by those who are not workers or residents) has improved significantly. While it was down by as much as 82%, it is currently down 57% as of November.
  • Overall foot traffic downtown (visitors, workers and residents) is still down 56% as of November but was down as much as 70% earlier in the year.
  • The estimated number of jobs associated with a downtown worksite was down by as much as 13% and is still down about 7% as of the end of the third quarter.
  • Apartment occupancy is down 5% year-over-year so far this quarter.

Notes:

All statistics on this page are for downtown Seattle and represent the most recent statistics available. Figures on this page represent the most recent available data as of December 21, 2020.

Sources include CoStar, Oxford Economics, Placer.ai, Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle Department of Transportation, Smith Travel Research and Visit Seattle. 

“Foot traffic” is an estimate of all visits to downtown by anyone (visitor, resident or worker). “Workers present” measures visits by workers who were present in the downtown neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of office space between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. “Visitors” measures the number of visits by those who are neither residents nor workers downtown.