PUYALLUP, Wash. — Washington State University extension economist Richard W. Carkner will examine the size and scope of the landscape and landscape maintenance industry in Washington in a new study funded through the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The study is the second phase of a statistics-gathering project begun by the Washington State Nursery and Landscaping Association and follows the completion last year of Carkner’s research measuring the size of the state’s nursery industry.
In that earlier study, Carkner, an agricultural economist with the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, found that plants and related products generate $842 million in annual sales in Washington state and provide jobs for 55,000 people at peak season, generating $66.5 million in sales tax to support public agencies.
“This is the most important research we’ve been involved in, as far as its positive impact on the whole industry,” said Steve McGonigal, executive director of the Washington State Nursery and Landscaping Association. “It is proving very useful right now as we talk to lawmakers and the general public about water supplies and related matters. Since it was just too big a project to measure the whole green industry in one project, this second step was planned all along.”
In his new study, Carkner and his assistant, Riley Moore, will ask companies in the industry for confidential reports on their sales, employment, and other pertinent information. He then will use accepted statistical methods to develop reports on the total industry’s size. No individual company data will be disclosed.
McGonigal urged cooperation with the WSU researchers. “The people and companies in this industry can only win by taking part in this project,” he said. The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Nursery Advisory Committee approved funding for the study, which will come from a surcharge on nursery dealer’s license fees.

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