(The Center Square) – A recent survey by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce revealed that a majority of businesses believe the city is heading in the wrong direction.

Out of the 129 responses the chamber received, 53% said they do not believe Seattle is trending in the right direction for its business community.

When respondents were asked what they think is the single most important problem facing the Seattle business community today, 54% marked safety/crime/guns/drugs as the top issue.

“It is sobering to see these public safety concerns from employers, employees and the voters, but where there is consensus, there is also opportunity, and I believe we can make progress with a concerted effort by our public officials and other community leaders,” Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Rachel Smith said in a statement.

Despite the majority of businesses fearing increased drug use and crime in Seattle, 75% of respondents say their businesses are committed to maintaining a presence in the city.

The chamber’s Business Index survey also found some indicators of growth and stability for the Seattle business community: 71% say they are very or somewhat likely to hire more employees, and 58% said they have made no change to their company work site space because of the pandemic or remote work.

An overwhelming 82% agreed with the statement that having more connections to minority vendors and suppliers can help build a more equitable and inclusive economy.

“Employers want to hire more employees, want connections to [black, indigenous, and other people of color] vendors, and a majority are maintaining their office spaces – these are indicators that addressing quality-of-life issues like public safety will unlock latent economic potential,” Smith added.

The latest report from the Downtown Seattle Association shows that the average daily worker traffic in the downtown area in September was 84,067. That is a 4.9% decrease from 88,408 in August, which had the highest daily average worker traffic in 2023.

Half of the 129 respondents were from businesses with fewer than 20 employees, 25% had 20-99 employees and the other 25% had more than 100 employees.

Notably, half of the responding businesses are located in downtown Seattle.

Responses were collected from Oct. 15-29, and was conducted by EMC Research.

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