Washington’s petroleum refiners in 2017 accounted for 25,366 jobs, $1.9 B in personal income and paid $231.6 million in taxes

Manufacturing is one of the key pillars of our state economy, one which national research has shown to be of extraordinary value to rural communities. A new report from the Washington Research Council digs deep into the economic impact of Washington’s five petroleum refiners. It’s significant.

In 2017, the refiners directly provided 2,171 full-time jobs, paying an annual average wage of $129,132. In addition, the refiners employed, at high wages, 2,658 contract workers on an average day, doing maintenance, capital repair and capital replacement. The refiners indirectly created additional Washington state jobs in industries from which they purchased goods and services, including transportation, construction, utilities and business services. Spending of the income earned in these direct and indirect jobs created even more jobs.

The sum of all these effects was 25,366 jobs and $1.90 billion in per- sonal income for Washington state in 2017. State and local governments received $231.6 million in taxes directly from the refiners and $74.4 million from the follow-on activities of other taxpayers.

Also, industries that distributed refined petroleum products, paid $503 million in wages to 16,078 workers in 2017. Excise taxes collected by the state from these industries totaled $97.3 million in 2017.

The report also finds that taxes paid by refiners in Washington are considerably higher than those paid by California refiners.

Because of Washington’s unique tax structure, a Washington refinery’s state and local tax burden in 2017 was almost three times higher than the state and local tax burden of a comparable refinery located in California.

The report also outlines the history of the industry in the state, breaks down the disposition of product, and provides details of the economic impact analysis. A couple of findings:

Today, Washington’s five refineries make up 3.3 percent of the nation’s total refining capacity (EIA 2018a). With this state accounting for about 2.1 percent of national petroleum consumption, in-state refineries pro- duce quantities more than sufficient for Washington’s needs (EIA 2018b). In 2017, 54 percent of Washington production went to in-state custom- ers, 38 percent was exported to other states, and 8 percent was exported to other countries…

Petroleum product consumption in Washington increased by only 4 percent from 1997 to 2016. Over theperiod the state’s population grewby 29 percent and the output of the state economy (as measured by real gross state product) grew by 69 per- cent. As a result, per-capita consumption declined by 19 percent, while gross state product per barrel of petroleum increased by 62 percent. Residual fuel accounted for 52 percent of the gain from 2014 to 2016, while jet fuel accounted for 19 percent.

There’s much more in the 24-page report, providing insight into the importance of one of Washington’s key manufacturing sectors.