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 trends charts below.

Downtown Recovery Dashboard

January 2023 (December data)

Downtown Seattle was the first American urban center to experience the impacts of COVID-19, enduring a sudden economic downturn. As downtown continues to recover, DSA will publish a monthly Recovery Dashboard examining key recovery metrics. The data sets provide a comparison point to the same time period in 2019. Additionally, the dashboard will feature notable stories that provide context regarding downtown’s recovery, renewal and reemergence.

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Visitors
Total monthly visitors since 2019

Nearly 2.2 million visitors came downtown in December, an increase of more than 8% compared to December 2021.

Source: Placer.ai

Return to Office
Percentage of 2019 worker foot traffic to 2022

Worker foot traffic continued to show signs of improvement, increasing to 44% of December 2019’s levels. This represents the third consecutive month of improving return-to-office figures.

Source: Placer.ai

Hotel Room Demand
Monthly hotel rooms sold compared to 2019

Demand for hotel rooms weakened slightly in December, with room stays at 71% of 2019 levels. A bright spot during the holidays was New Year’s Eve, when downtown hotel demand hit 97%, nearly matching 2019 occupancy levels.

Sources: Visit Seattle, STR

Occupied Apartment Units

Residential units continued their post-pandemic climb in the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching record levels of inventory downtown and number of occupied units (nearly 56k).

Source: CoStar

Of Note in Downtown

bus

11%ridership increase

Average weekday King County Metro ridership for December 2022 was up 11% over December 2021.

building

55,811occupied residential units

The last quarter of 2022 saw a record 55,811 occupied residential units in downtown — an increase of more than 5,000 units since Q4 2020.

White outline icon: graffiti clean-up

2,784graffiti tags removed

The DSA/MID Clean Team removed 2,784 graffiti tags and/or stickers from public infrastructure and private property in December 2022.

Coming Up in Downtown

Seattle Convention Center Summit building
 

The Seattle Convention Center Summit building opens this week, hosting Redfin’s Roadshow 2023 Seattle conference. More than 1,600 attendees are expected for the building’s first event Jan. 12–13. The Arch building will be hosting two events at the end of the month expected to draw crowds of more than 11,000 people — the Northwest Remodeling Expo (Jan. 20–22) and Seattle Wedding Show (Jan. 28–29).

Lion Dance. Credit: Alan Alabastro Photography
Credit: Alan Alabastro Photography

DSA member Wing Luke Museum will be hosting a celebration to usher in the Year of the Rabbit on Jan. 28. The Lunar New Year fair begins at 10 a.m. with a lion dance.

Credit: Seattle Kraken
Credit: Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken continue their playoff push with six straight games on home ice starting Jan. 16 after seven straight on the road. The Kraken enter this stretch at third in the Pacific Division.

COVID-19 Downtown Recovery Weekly Snapshot

These charts show weekly statistics from March 2020 through the most recent week available. To indicate the level of recovery, data is displayed as a percent of the same metric for the comparable week of 2019.

Notes on Sources

Downtown foot traffic data are provided by Placer.ai and are based on cell phone location data. Each person is counted once per day. International visitors are not included. Subsets of this data in the charts are as follows:

  • Office worker presence is estimated based on visits by workers who were present between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays in the downtown neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of office space.*
  • Total visitors includes those who do not live or work downtown. It does not include international visitors.
  • Hotel data are based on monthly reports from STR, provided by Visit Seattle.
  • Apartment occupancy data are from CoStar. This is reported quarterly but the current quarter data are updated in real-time as new information is added to the database.
  • Domestic visitors counts those who do not live or work downtown.
  • Total foot traffic includes all visits to downtown by domestic visitors, residents and workers.
  • Pike Place Market visitors includes domestic visitors who do not live or work at the Pike Place Market.

*Note that workers who have not visited their work site in the past 90 days are classified as “visitors” until they are regularly visiting their work site at least three times in a one-week period.