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

September 2022 (August 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

Downtown welcomed more than 3 million visitors in August. This was the highest monthly visitor count since the start of the pandemic, representing 97% of August 2019’s total visitors.

Peer City Return to Office
Percentage of 2019 worker foot traffic to 2022

Workers continue to return downtown with August figures at 44% of 2019 totals — the highest monthly rate since the start of the pandemic.

Hotel Room Demand
Monthly hotel rooms sold compared to 2019

Demand for hotel rooms in August remained strong, with room stays at 91% of 2019 levels, representing nearly 370,000 hotel room nights.

Occupied Apartment Units

To date in Q3 2022, there are estimated to be more than 56,000-plus occupied residential units downtown, the highest number recorded since 2000.

Of Note in Downtown

Workers

40+%worker return

From mid-July through the end of August, weekly return-to-office figures were 40% or higher for seven of eight weeks — the most prolonged stretch above that mark since the start of the pandemic.

Hotel bed

2ndnational ranking

Seattle ranked second nationally for hotel occupancy in the month of August among top 25 markets, trailing only Oahu.

Suitcase

3,047,033visitors

Downtown Seattle’s August visitor count of more than 3 million people is the highest number we’ve seen since August 2019.

character line drawing

120,000estimated PAX attendees

While PAX West doesn’t track attendance, it’s estimated this year’s conference hosted more than 120,000 people at the Seattle Convention Center in August.

Coming Up in Downtown

Festál performers
Credit: Seattle Center

Seattle Center’s Festál series continues with two events in September: Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias Sept. 17–18 and the Italian Festival Sept. 24–25.

Seattle Kraken players on ice
Credit: Seattle Kraken

Home-field advantage will be huge in late September with the Seahawks, Kraken, Sounders and Mariners all playing at the friendly confines of Lumen Field, Climate Pledge Arena and T-Mobile Park from Sept. 25–29.

Coffee beans and grounds, cup of coffee
 

Coffee Fest PNW begins Sept. 30 at the Seattle Convention Center. The industry trade show is expected to draw more than 3,500 people to Seattle.

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.