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 (February 2021)

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

  • Hotel revenue was down 96% year-over-year and is down 86% as of February 2021.
  • Hotel occupancy was down 87% and is still down 75%.
  • Visits by daytime workers (Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.) were down 86%. They are still down 83%.
  • Visitor traffic (visits by those who do not live or work downtown) was down 82% and is now down 50%.
  • Overall foot traffic (visitors, residents and workers) was down 75% and is now down 52%.
  • Transit ridership is still down 65% year-over-year. At it’s lowest point, it was down 70%.
  • Employment dropped 13% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020 but some jobs have returned and it is now down 5% year-over-year.Occupancy in downtown
  • Apartment occupancy grew in the second quarter of 2020 but was down 6% year-over-year at its lowest point. Although it is still down 5% year-over-year, the number of occupied units is increasing again.

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 March 26, 2020.

Sources include CoStar, King County Metro, Oxford Economics, Placer.ai, Puget Sound Regional Council, 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. Please note that this data does not generally capture international visitors.