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Seattle Employment

Employment and Industries in the Seattle, Washington Area

Located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States on Puget Sound, the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area has a thriving and diverse economy. There are fifteen Fortune 1000 company headquarters in the state of Washington, fourteen of them are in the Seattle metropolitan area. Nine of the companies in the Seattle area are on the Fortune 500. The largest company headquartered in the Seattle area is Costco. The most famous are probably Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing used to be based in Seattle, and although it moved its company headquarters to Chicago, its largest division is still located in Bellevue, and it continues to be a major force in the Seattle area economy. Boeing has Seattle area aircraft manufacturing plants in Everett and Renton, and is one of the largest employers in the Seattle area.

In its 2006 list of "Best Cities for Doing Business" in the United States, Inc. magazine ranked the Seattle area twenty-eighth in the large cities category. The criteria used in the compiling the Inc. list emphasizes regional growth. Seattle also fared well in on Forbes magazine's 2005 list of "Best Places For Business and Careers". Forbes ranked Seattle seventy-third out of the 150 largest metropolitan areas. Expansion Management magazine ranked Seattle seventeenth on its 2006 list of "America's 50 Hottest Cities". Seattle also achieved a "5-Star Business Opportunity Metro" ranking from Expansion Management’s 2005 Mayor’s Challenge ranking of the "Top Business Opportunity Metros." Ranking criteria include business climate, transportation and logistics infrastructure, quality of life, public education, and other areas important to corporate site selectors.

Helping to fuel the economy of the Seattle area is one of the most highly educated work forces in the United States. In 2005, researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle the most literate city in America. According to the United States Census Bureau, Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major U.S. city. 51.3 percent of Seattle's 25-and-over population has a bachelor's degree or higher. Forbes Magazine in its 2005 list of "Best Places For Business and Careers", ranked Seattle 10th of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in educational attainment.

Major industries in the Seattle area include aerospace, forest products, the military, and the shipping industry. While these are the traditional foundation of the Seattle economy, emerging industries include software, retail, biotechnology, tourism, Internet services, and telecommunications.

High technology and software are a major force in the Seattle area economy. According to the Seattle government site, the Seattle area ranks fifth in the United States for software jobs as a percentage of total population. There are about 6,000 software related companies in the region who employ over 65,000 people.

The United States Military is also one of the largest employers in the Seattle/Puget Sound region. Major facilities in the region include an Army base, an air force base, two navy bases, and a Naval shipyard.

Another major influence on the area's economy is the Port of Seattle. The port is an excellent deep-water harbor in the center of the Puget Sound basin. It is the fifth largest container port in the United States, and the thirty-seventh largest in the world as of 2005. Port of Seattle facilities (largely the port and the Seattle Tacoma International Airport) have a huge economic impact. Port facilities and businesses supporting those facilities account for nearly 200,000 jobs in the Puget Sound region.

For the business traveler, the Seattle area is served by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), or Sea-Tac. In 2005, Sea-Tac was ranked as the seventh busiest airport in the United States and thirtieth busiest airport in the world.

Notable companies in the Seattle area include:

  • Alaska Air Group
  • Amazon.com
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Expeditors Intl. of Washington
  • Microsoft
  • Nextel Partners
  • Nintendo of America
  • Nordstrom
  • Paccar
  • Plum Creek Timber
  • Potlatch
  • Puget Energy
  • Safeco
  • Starbucks
  • Washington Mutual

Major business organizations in the Seattle area include:

The Puget Sound Business Journal, and the "Business & Technology Section" of the Seattle Times are both good sources of information on business and economy in the Seattle area.

Jobs in Seattle

Rank Title Total Employees Local Mean Salary (Per Year) Local Mean Salary (Per hour) National Growth % 2014-2024
1 All Occupations 1874250 $61170 $29.41 100
2 Office and Administrative Support Occupations 262120 $42360 $20.37 14.8
3 Sales and Related Occupations 177920 $46590 $22.4 10.15
4 Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations 165080 $29180 $14.03 8.3
5 Business and Financial Operations Occupations 140130 $80370 $38.64 5.05
6 Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 128270 $44900 $21.59 6.45
7 Computer and Mathematical Occupations 125650 $109720 $52.75 2.8
8 Production Occupations 110570 $46800 $22.5 5.85
9 Management Occupations 103510 $131490 $63.21 6.05
10 Education, Training, and Library Occupations 94850 $57920 $27.85 6.15
11 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations 91230 $90780 $43.65 5.75
12 Construction and Extraction Occupations 82000 $59940 $28.82 4.4
13 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 64950 $54760 $26.33 3.8
14 Retail Salespersons 58060 $32330 $15.54 3.1
15 Personal Care and Service Occupations 55800 $32940 $15.84 4.1
16 Architecture and Engineering Occupations 54770 $95580 $45.95 1.65
17 Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations 46850 $33090 $15.91 3.7
18 Software Developers, Applications 45990 $131740 $63.34 0.5
19 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 44420 $24640 $11.85 2.15
20 Healthcare Support Occupations 41340 $37350 $17.96 3.05
21 Customer Service Representatives 37640 $39670 $19.07 1.75
22 Protective Service Occupations 35700 $57860 $27.82 2.25
23 Office Clerks, General 35220 $37950 $18.25 2
24 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 34590 $33260 $15.99 1.6
25 Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations 33240 $60600 $29.13 1.7
26 Cashiers 33060 $28350 $13.63 2.25
27 Registered Nurses 32620 $82770 $39.79 1.9
28 Waiters and Waitresses 30930 $32990 $15.86 1.6
29 General and Operations Managers 26360 $132710 $63.8 1.4
30 Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 23880 $32220 $15.49 1.6
31 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products 23600 $71140 $34.2 1
32 Business Operations Specialists, All Other 23470 $78380 $37.68 0.7
33 Community and Social Service Occupations 23330 $49820 $23.95 1.65
34 Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 22530 $33890 $16.29 1.2
35 Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 20310 $44980 $21.62 1.1
36 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive 19370 $42830 $20.59 1.6
37 Accountants and Auditors 19340 $74300 $35.72 0.9
38 Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations 19250 $75290 $36.2 0.9
39 Cooks, Restaurant 17350 $29290 $14.08 0.75
40 First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers 16760 $62940 $30.26 1
41 Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 16610 $45630 $21.94 0.9
42 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 15900 $48530 $23.33 1.2
43 Carpenters 15120 $58800 $28.27 0.6
44 Legal Occupations 14790 $106860 $51.38 0.8
45 Computer Systems Analysts 14050 $98670 $47.44 0.4
46 Management Analysts 13910 $107790 $51.82 0.5
47 Nursing Assistants 13440 $31840 $15.31 1.05
48 Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 13390 $82930 $39.87 0.35
49 Security Guards 13170 $35710 $17.17 0.7
50 Personal Care Aides 13110 $26850 $12.91 1.3
51 Receptionists and Information Clerks 12740 $33460 $16.09 0.7
52 Food Preparation Workers 12560 $28300 $13.61 0.6
53 Sales Representatives, Services, All Other 12540 $61470 $29.55 0.6
54 Software Developers, Systems Software 12470 $116610 $56.06 0.3
55 Construction Laborers 12130 $49560 $23.83 0.8
56 First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers 11880 $49320 $23.71 1
57 Computer User Support Specialists 11210 $58700 $28.22 0.4
58 Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers 11130 $40460 $19.45 0.6
59 First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers 10750 $40590 $19.51 0.6
60 Human Resources Specialists 10210 $71440 $34.34 0.3
61 Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers 10170 $36660 $17.63 0.8
62 Computer and Information Systems Managers 10160 $154870 $74.46 0.25
63 Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks 10020 $37880 $18.21 0.4
64 Packers and Packagers, Hand 9890 $27720 $13.33 0.45
65 Computer Programmers 9280 $119620 $57.51 0.2
66 Financial Managers 8910 $138670 $66.67 0.4
67 Electricians 8840 $68040 $32.71 0.4
68 Team Assemblers 8780 $36670 $17.63 0.75
69 Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products 8750 $74310 $35.73 0.2
70 Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 8670 $26340 $12.66 1
71 Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers 8500 $60140 $28.91 0.3
72 Lawyers 8380 $136280 $65.52 0.5
73 Dishwashers 8330 $24960 $12 0.3
74 Bartenders 7810 $33820 $16.26 0.4
75 Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks 7730 $51550 $24.78 0.2
76 Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop 7710 $25590 $12.3 0.3
77 First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers 7480 $76500 $36.78 0.4
78 Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 7400 $47830 $22.99 0.5
79 Billing and Posting Clerks 7300 $41390 $19.9 0.35
80 Substitute Teachers 7150 $40280 $19.36 0
81 Medical Assistants 6940 $39840 $19.15 0.45
82 Network and Computer Systems Administrators 6900 $93840 $45.12 0.3
83 Counter and Rental Clerks 6720 $33680 $16.19 0.3
84 First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers 6680 $79110 $38.03 0.4
85 Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants 6660 $61390 $29.52 0.5
86 Managers, All Other 6640 $126910 $61.02 0.65
87 Machinists 6590 $53250 $25.6 0.3
88 Computer Occupations, All Other 6490 $89400 $42.98 0.2
89 Civil Engineers 6320 $89110 $42.84 0.2
90 Industrial Engineers 6310 $106790 $51.34 0.2
91 Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists 6270 $41090 $19.76 0.4
92 Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 6150 $44080 $21.19 0.35
93 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 6060 $68950 $33.15 0.3
94 Painters, Construction and Maintenance 5990 $43620 $20.97 0.2
95 Dental Assistants 5940 $40880 $19.66 0.2
96 Bus Drivers, School or Special Client 5700 $39590 $19.04 0.3
97 Sales Managers 5420 $134810 $64.81 0.2
98 First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 5360 $72530 $34.87 0.3
99 Medical Secretaries 5300 $44430 $21.36 0.4
100 Compliance Officers 5110 $91290 $43.89 0.2
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Additional Details

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Seattle colleges and trade schools.

Jobs More Common Near Seattle Than Most Other Cities

* Average job popularity for metro areas = 1.0

Title Mean Local Salary Local Jobs
All Occupations 61,170 1,874,250
Office and Administrative Support Occupations 42,360 262,120
Sales and Related Occupations 46,590 177,920
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations 29,180 165,080
Business and Financial Operations Occupations 80,370 140,130
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 44,900 128,270
Computer and Mathematical Occupations 109,720 125,650
Production Occupations 46,800 110,570
Management Occupations 131,490 103,510
Education, Training, and Library Occupations 57,920 94,850
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations 90,780 91,230
Construction and Extraction Occupations 59,940 82,000
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 54,760 64,950
Retail Salespersons 32,330 58,060
Personal Care and Service Occupations 32,940 55,800
Architecture and Engineering Occupations 95,580 54,770
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations 33,090 46,850
Software Developers, Applications 131,740 45,990
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 24,640 44,420
Healthcare Support Occupations 37,350 41,340
Customer Service Representatives 39,670 37,640
Protective Service Occupations 57,860 35,700
Office Clerks, General 37,950 35,220
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 33,260 34,590
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations 60,600 33,240
Cashiers 28,350 33,060
Registered Nurses 82,770 32,620
Waiters and Waitresses 32,990 30,930
General and Operations Managers 132,710 26,360
Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 32,220 23,880
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products 71,140 23,600
Business Operations Specialists, All Other 78,380 23,470
Community and Social Service Occupations 49,820 23,330
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 33,890 22,530
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 44,980 20,310
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive 42,830 19,370
Accountants and Auditors 74,300 19,340
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations 75,290 19,250
Cooks, Restaurant 29,290 17,350
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers 62,940 16,760
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 45,630 16,610
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 48,530 15,900
Carpenters 58,800 15,120
Legal Occupations 106,860 14,790
Computer Systems Analysts 98,670 14,050
Management Analysts 107,790 13,910
Nursing Assistants 31,840 13,440
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 82,930 13,390
Security Guards 35,710 13,170
Personal Care Aides 26,850 13,110

Work Paying Relatively Well in the Seattle, Washington Metro Area (2008 data)

* Average Salary Index for metro areas = 1.0

Title Mean Local Salary Local Jobs
All Occupations 61,170 1,874,250
Office and Administrative Support Occupations 42,360 262,120
Sales and Related Occupations 46,590 177,920
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations 29,180 165,080
Business and Financial Operations Occupations 80,370 140,130
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 44,900 128,270
Computer and Mathematical Occupations 109,720 125,650
Production Occupations 46,800 110,570
Management Occupations 131,490 103,510
Education, Training, and Library Occupations 57,920 94,850
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations 90,780 91,230
Construction and Extraction Occupations 59,940 82,000
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 54,760 64,950
Retail Salespersons 32,330 58,060
Personal Care and Service Occupations 32,940 55,800
Architecture and Engineering Occupations 95,580 54,770
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations 33,090 46,850
Software Developers, Applications 131,740 45,990
Healthcare Support Occupations 37,350 41,340
Customer Service Representatives 39,670 37,640
Protective Service Occupations 57,860 35,700
Office Clerks, General 37,950 35,220
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 33,260 34,590
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations 60,600 33,240
Cashiers 28,350 33,060
Registered Nurses 82,770 32,620
Waiters and Waitresses 32,990 30,930
General and Operations Managers 132,710 26,360
Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 32,220 23,880
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products 71,140 23,600
Business Operations Specialists, All Other 78,380 23,470
Community and Social Service Occupations 49,820 23,330
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 33,890 22,530
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 44,980 20,310
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive 42,830 19,370
Accountants and Auditors 74,300 19,340
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations 75,290 19,250
Cooks, Restaurant 29,290 17,350
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers 62,940 16,760
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 45,630 16,610
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 48,530 15,900
Carpenters 58,800 15,120
Legal Occupations 106,860 14,790
Computer Systems Analysts 98,670 14,050
Management Analysts 107,790 13,910
Nursing Assistants 31,840 13,440
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 82,930 13,390
Security Guards 35,710 13,170
Personal Care Aides 26,850 13,110
Receptionists and Information Clerks 33,460 12,740

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