Tri-Cities economy is leaving Hanford Behind - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities economy is leaving Hanford Behind

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Kennewick, WA- A new report shows the Tri-Cities economy is leaving Hanford behind.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Economist Mike Scott presented the report at today's Tridec Regional Outlook Conference.

Since the 1970s, Scott says the local economy has steadily become more diversified, and less dependent on Hanford budgets.

Tridec President Carl Adrian says the business organization will show this report to potential investors who think Hanford is carrying the local economy.   

"Hanford is important to the economy," Adrian says, "and if you add in the sub contractors jobs, it's probably more important than the report shows, but it's not what's driving the economy, and it's important to see the economy really is diversified."

The study shows non-Hanford jobs have grown about 30 percent since the mid-1990s. Health-related jobs have shown the biggest growth.

An economist considered one of the best in the nation also gave an optimistic view of the Tri-Cities at the forum.  Brian Wesbury
has been ranked as one of the nation's top economists by the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.  He's written two books, "The New Era of Wealth" and "It's Not as Bad as You Think: Why Capitalism Trumps Fear and the Economy Will Thrive."  Wesbury was the keynote speaker and also addressed students at WSU Tri-Cities earlier in the day.

Wesbury says the Tri-Cities has been riding a nice wave during troubled times and thinks it'll continue.  He explains, "My view is that this area should continue to grow faster than the national average for a long time to come.  There's a lot of spending going on here, and the clean up effort, but there's a lot of businesses that are doing well."

On a national level, Wesbury thinks the country is recovering.  He equates it to having the flu, saying when you're recovering from being sick, you don't always feel better right away.

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