The average annual wage in the Cherry Point Industrial Zone is more than double the average wage in Whatcom County as a whole.
According to the 2019 Employment at Cherry Point study prepared by Western Washington University’s Center for Economic and Business Research, the average wage at Cherry Point of $110,690 dwarfs the county average of $45,491.
This is because the majority of jobs in Cherry Point are in petroleum manufacturing, which has the highest wages of all sectors in Whatcom County.
While some employers in the Cherry Point region pay roughly the county average, some pay up to three times the county standard. More than two-thirds of the jobs in Cherry Point are in petroleum manufacturing, with an average wage that’s 320 percent of the county average. Many of the jobs in the region also allow overtime, resulting in actual incomes that are much higher.
Those wages, naturally, are spent throughout the county, with each Cherry Point job supporting an additional 1.71 jobs in Whatcom County, according to the impact study. Fewer than 4 percent of county jobs are in the Cherry Point area, but the region supports more than 11 percent of all jobs in the county.
The businesses in the Cherry Point Industrial Zone continue to play a significant role in both the county and state economy. Without the jobs in Cherry Point, the average wage in Whatcom County would decrease from $45,491 to $43,024, a 5.4-percent drop.
These fact-based findings are worth considering when policies that impact Cherry Point are under consideration.