Technology sector showing growth in Kitsap County

The technology sector in Kitsap County is growing, according to a quarterly report by the executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA).

John Powers, who presented his report to the Port Orchard City Council on Feb. 12, noted there are 87 businesses in the technology sector that have more than 1,000 employees in the county.

“Our technology sector is growing in Kitsap,” he said. “Some people thinks it’s only in Redmond or along the I-5 corridor, but it’s throughout the region.”

At the end of 2012, Powers said data shows growth and improvement in technology, along with manufacturing, including businesses in Port Orchard.

“There is some technology being developed at Leader International Corp. holds great promise,” Powers said.

He also reported in the last quarter of 2012, KEDA assisted 17 businesses in Port Orchard.

Concerning hiring at the naval shipyards, Powers said there were plans to hire 500 new workers, but because of budget uncertainty and Department of Defense cuts, hiring is on hold.

“We’re all watching that very closely,” Powers said. “We working with our elected representatives to get a better handle on what we can do to prepare for, if there are cuts that impact the largest segment of our economy.”

Powers said he’s hopeful there will be a resolution on the national budget.

He noted the largest military construction project in the U.S. is underway with the $300 million first phase of the explosive handling wharf project at Bangor Naval Station.

“Hopefully with some budget resolution cooperation, the entire project will stay on course and be completed in a projected 5-to 7-year horizon,” Powers said.

Powers said local banks have reported loans to small business are up.

“Credit is flowing again and businesses, in general, are at a much better place at the end of 2012 than two years ago.” he said.

Power said during last year’s final quarter, the county posted the lowest unemployment rate in five years at 6.5 percent.

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