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

November 2022 (October 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

In October, we continued the strong trend of people returning downtown, with more than 2.4 million visitors. This was an increase of more than 7% compared to October 2021.

Source: Placer.ai

Return to Office
Percentage of 2019 worker foot traffic to 2022

Office worker traffic in October 2022 was nearly 40% of that in October 2019, impacted by the caveats noted below.

Please note that the October 2019 contains an additional two weekdays compared to October 2022, and data indicate that wildfire smoke adversely impacted foot traffic at the end of October.

Source: Placer.ai

Hotel Room Demand
Monthly hotel rooms sold compared to 2019

Demand for hotel rooms remained strong compared to 2019. October 2022 demand was at 91% of 2019 levels.

Sources: Visit Seattle, STR

Occupied Apartment Units

So far in Q4 2022, there are estimated to be more than 56,000-plus occupied residential units downtown, continuing the strong post-pandemic trend.

Source: CoStar

Of Note in Downtown

White outline icon: Link light rail

2.3Mboardings

Sound Transit’s most recent data indicate September 2022 was the busiest month on record for the light rail system.

bus

8%increase

October average weekday ridership on King County Metro buses was 8% higher than September ridership.

3,449graffiti tags removed

The number of graffiti tags and stickers removed from public structures by the DSA/MID Clean Team in October.

White outline icon: Pioneer Square buildings, including Smith Tower

86,402visitors

The last weekend of October marked the highest three-day total of visitors to the Pioneer Square neighborhood since the start of the pandemic.

Coming Up in Downtown

UNIQLO in downtown Seattle
Credit: UNIQLO

Japanese retailer UNIQLO will open its first downtown Seattle location on Friday, Nov. 18 at the northeast corner of Fourth and Pine, in the old Macy’s building.

Credit: Seattle Kraken
Credit: Seattle Kraken

Winners of five of their last seven matchups, the Seattle Kraken continue their marathon six-game homestand with three more tilts on home ice at Climate Pledge Arena Nov. 17, Nov. 19 and Nov. 23.

Tree lighting in Westlake Park

Thousands of people are expected to attend the annual DSA/MID Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration on Friday, Nov. 25. The festivities begin with two hours of live music in Westlake Park, followed by the tree lighting, fireworks (conditions permitting) and the Dusty 45s closing the evening with a live show.

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.