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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

RankTitleTotal EmployeesLocal Mean Salary (Per Year)Local Mean Salary (Per hour)National Growth % 2014-2024
1All Occupations1944150$63,120$30.35100
2Office and Administrative Support Occupations262620$43,940$21.1214.35
3Sales and Related Occupations177650$49,030$23.579.9
4Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations169600$31,600$15.198.55
5Business and Financial Operations Occupations149210$83,090$39.955.25
6Transportation and Material Moving Occupations141970$46,130$22.186.55
7Computer and Mathematical Occupations132750$112,450$54.062.9
8Management Occupations108270$134,820$64.826.15
9Production Occupations106680$48,800$23.465.7
10Education, Training, and Library Occupations95940$59,880$28.796.05
11Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations94800$92,400$44.435.8
12Construction and Extraction Occupations88530$61,260$29.454.45
13Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations69610$56,220$27.033.8
14Personal Care and Service Occupations69080$33,880$16.294.3
15Retail Salespersons55840$35,730$17.182.85
16Architecture and Engineering Occupations50900$99,330$47.761.7
17Software Developers, Applications48510$133,420$64.140.55
18Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations48460$34,470$16.573.65
19Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand46130$34,550$16.611.7
20Healthcare Support Occupations44680$38,550$18.533
21Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food43760$26,870$12.922.3
22Office Clerks, General40230$40,450$19.451.9
23Protective Service Occupations37690$59,980$28.842.2
24Customer Service Representatives35440$41,230$19.821.75
25Cashiers34560$29,410$14.142.2
26Waiters and Waitresses33270$36,420$17.511.7
27Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations33240$61,480$29.561.8
28Registered Nurses32660$82,710$39.771.95
29General and Operations Managers27800$137,380$66.051.5
30Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners25530$33,540$16.121.55
31Community and Social Service Occupations25500$51,080$24.561.65
32Personal Care Aides25130$27,980$13.451.5
33Business Operations Specialists, All Other24220$78,760$37.870.7
34Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products22390$72,280$34.750.9
35Accountants and Auditors21500$79,190$38.070.9
36Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations20310$77,110$37.070.8
37Stock Clerks and Order Fillers19760$36,110$17.361.3
38Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks19170$46,000$22.121.05
39Cooks, Restaurant18520$31,700$15.240.8
40Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive18460$44,200$21.251.5
41Maintenance and Repair Workers, General17640$47,330$22.750.9
42First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers17480$65,740$31.610.95
43Management Analysts16160$110,690$53.220.5
44Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers16100$49,610$23.851.2
45Carpenters15840$60,730$29.190.7
46Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists14890$85,920$41.310.4
47Nursing Assistants14830$31,530$15.161
48Construction Laborers14190$48,940$23.530.8
49Legal Occupations14170$108,460$52.150.8
50Security Guards13540$38,540$18.530.7
51Receptionists and Information Clerks13460$34,450$16.560.7
52Software Developers, Systems Software13350$119,990$57.690.3
53Computer Systems Analysts13310$99,420$47.80.4
54Sales Representatives, Services, All Other13090$69,390$33.360.6
55First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers12500$53,470$25.711
56First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers11920$42,140$20.260.6
57Computer User Support Specialists11870$65,330$31.410.4
58Food Preparation Workers11740$30,730$14.780.6
59Human Resources Specialists11180$72,470$34.840.35
60Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers11130$40,490$19.470.6
61Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other, Including Team Assemblers10900$38,130$18.330
62Computer and Information Systems Managers10690$160,860$77.340.2
63Electricians10480$67,290$32.350.4
64Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers10110$36,820$17.70.8
65Packers and Packagers, Hand9840$29,590$14.230.45
66Computer Programmers9620$124,310$59.760.2
67Financial Managers9020$145,280$69.850.4
68Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks8980$48,590$23.360.2
69Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop8760$28,640$13.770.3
70Computer Occupations, All Other8750$93,640$45.020.2
71Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers8590$62,620$30.10.3
72Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners8450$28,470$13.690.9
73Lawyers8010$138,920$66.790.5
74First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers7980$77,040$37.040.4
75Bartenders7960$33,700$16.20.4
76First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers7740$80,270$38.590.4
77Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks7730$38,470$18.50.4
78Managers, All Other7470$129,890$62.450.6
79Dishwashers7430$27,360$13.160.3
80Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics7370$49,750$23.920.5
81Medical Assistants7270$42,200$20.290.45
82Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators7220$45,100$21.680.35
83Substitute Teachers7180$41,130$19.770
84Billing and Posting Clerks6970$43,060$20.70.3
85Network and Computer Systems Administrators6850$96,470$46.380.25
86Machinists6730$53,500$25.720.25
87Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists6440$43,070$20.710.4
88Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants6280$62,590$30.090.35
89First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers6220$72,590$34.90.3
90Painters, Construction and Maintenance6190$40,710$19.570.2
91Civil Engineers6150$93,050$44.740.2
92Bus Drivers, School or Special Client6110$41,210$19.810.3
93Dental Assistants5910$43,950$21.130.2
94First-Line Supervisors of Transportation and Material Moving Workers, Except Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors5860$62,630$30.110
95Counter and Rental Clerks5780$33,470$16.090.3
96Real Estate Sales Agents5760$60,910$29.280.2
97Construction Managers5720$98,440$47.330.3
98Compliance Officers5670$92,250$44.350.2
99Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria5670$33,950$16.320.3
100Childcare Workers5650$28,880$13.880.8
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Additional Details

Seattle Colleges
Seattle colleges and trade schools.

Jobs More Common Near Seattle Than Most Other Cities

* Average job popularity for metro areas = 1.0

TitleMean Local SalaryLocal Jobs
All Occupations$63,1201,944,150
Office and Administrative Support Occupations$43,940262,620
Sales and Related Occupations$49,030177,650
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations$31,600169,600
Business and Financial Operations Occupations$83,090149,210
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations$46,130141,970
Computer and Mathematical Occupations$112,450132,750
Management Occupations$134,820108,270
Production Occupations$48,800106,680
Education, Training, and Library Occupations$59,88095,940
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations$92,40094,800
Construction and Extraction Occupations$61,26088,530
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations$56,22069,610
Personal Care and Service Occupations$33,88069,080
Retail Salespersons$35,73055,840
Architecture and Engineering Occupations$99,33050,900
Software Developers, Applications$133,42048,510
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations$34,47048,460
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand$34,55046,130
Healthcare Support Occupations$38,55044,680
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food$26,87043,760
Office Clerks, General$40,45040,230
Protective Service Occupations$59,98037,690
Customer Service Representatives$41,23035,440
Cashiers$29,41034,560
Waiters and Waitresses$36,42033,270
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations$61,48033,240
Registered Nurses$82,71032,660
General and Operations Managers$137,38027,800
Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners$33,54025,530
Community and Social Service Occupations$51,08025,500
Personal Care Aides$27,98025,130
Business Operations Specialists, All Other$78,76024,220
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products$72,28022,390
Accountants and Auditors$79,19021,500
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations$77,11020,310
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers$36,11019,760
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks$46,00019,170
Cooks, Restaurant$31,70018,520
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive$44,20018,460
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General$47,33017,640
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers$65,74017,480
Management Analysts$110,69016,160
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers$49,61016,100
Carpenters$60,73015,840
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists$85,92014,890
Nursing Assistants$31,53014,830
Construction Laborers$48,94014,190
Legal Occupations$108,46014,170
Security Guards$38,54013,540

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

* Average Salary Index for metro areas = 1.0

TitleMean Local SalaryLocal Jobs
All Occupations$63,1201,944,150
Office and Administrative Support Occupations$43,940262,620
Sales and Related Occupations$49,030177,650
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations$31,600169,600
Business and Financial Operations Occupations$83,090149,210
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations$46,130141,970
Computer and Mathematical Occupations$112,450132,750
Management Occupations$134,820108,270
Production Occupations$48,800106,680
Education, Training, and Library Occupations$59,88095,940
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations$92,40094,800
Construction and Extraction Occupations$61,26088,530
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations$56,22069,610
Personal Care and Service Occupations$33,88069,080
Retail Salespersons$35,73055,840
Architecture and Engineering Occupations$99,33050,900
Software Developers, Applications$133,42048,510
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations$34,47048,460
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand$34,55046,130
Healthcare Support Occupations$38,55044,680
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food$26,87043,760
Office Clerks, General$40,45040,230
Protective Service Occupations$59,98037,690
Customer Service Representatives$41,23035,440
Cashiers$29,41034,560
Waiters and Waitresses$36,42033,270
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations$61,48033,240
Registered Nurses$82,71032,660
General and Operations Managers$137,38027,800
Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners$33,54025,530
Community and Social Service Occupations$51,08025,500
Personal Care Aides$27,98025,130
Business Operations Specialists, All Other$78,76024,220
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products$72,28022,390
Accountants and Auditors$79,19021,500
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations$77,11020,310
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers$36,11019,760
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks$46,00019,170
Cooks, Restaurant$31,70018,520
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive$44,20018,460
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General$47,33017,640
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers$65,74017,480
Management Analysts$110,69016,160
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers$49,61016,100
Carpenters$60,73015,840
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists$85,92014,890
Nursing Assistants$31,53014,830
Construction Laborers$48,94014,190
Legal Occupations$108,46014,170
Security Guards$38,54013,540

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