Tags: US State Facts | industries in washington | economy

Top 5 Industries in Washington: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 02:15 PM

In the second half of 2014, Washington's statewide unemployment rate, which had been generally better than the country's overall rate, increased further to become significantly higher than the rest of the country.

Despite that, there are bright spots in the state's economy as top industries stayed competitive.

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Here is a look at the top five industries in Washington:

1. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported largest industry within the state is comprised of trade, transportation, and utilities. Combined, those businesses generate more than half a million jobs in a state of roughly 7 million. Jobs in these industries reported an unemployment rate of only 3.2 percent for both November and December 2014, far below the state's overall rate.

2. The second biggest industry in the state is education and health services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed this as a field with a positive growth curve in terms of earning potential. Since 2005, the average earnings per hour nationwide increased each year. In 2005, the average was $16.63 per hour. By the end of 2014, this had increased by over 30 percent. Preliminary data continued that trend into 2015. This industry also showed a low unemployment rate that averaged just over 2 percent for the second half of 2014 in Washington.

3.
Professional and business services are another important segment of Washington industries. Similar to the first two, they support hundreds of thousands of jobs and provide the potential for continuous employment.

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For the second half of 2014, only one month had an unemployment rate that exceeded 3 percent, recovering from a serious employment drop in 2009 and 2010. Preliminary results from the U.S. Bureau of Labor for December 2014 indicated these fields were at a 10-year high, generating just below 376,000 jobs in Washington. That is more than 68,000 additional jobs compared to December 2004.

4. While the leisure and hospitality professions have been experiencing relatively higher unemployment than other leading industries, it is strong with more than 300,000 jobs and a preliminary unemployment rate of 3.2 percent during December 2014. That is roughly half the overall rate experienced in the state and showed improvement compared to the two previous months, which averaged 4.9 percent.

One possible reason for the increase in jobs in this area is that Washington state legalized recreational marijuana retail sales in July 2014, and because of this, the state made Travel + Leisure Magazine's list of the World's Coolest Tourist Attractions for 2014.

5.
Combined, all of these areas are helping to drive another part of the economy: manufacturing. Among the highest providers of jobs in the state, manufacturing is also experiencing one of the lowest unemployment rates of any industry in the state. For the last six months of 2014, the unemployment rate was always below 2 percent, usually below 1 percent.

Long known as the home to Boeing, which alone employs 85,000 people in the state, manufacturing jobs are looking good. Boeing is projecting an outstanding year in 2015 and will likely see additional projects in the future, assuming the company lands the government contract to deliver a new space vehicle to bring astronauts to the International Space Station, according to Yahoo Finance.

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In the second half of 2014, Washington's statewide unemployment rate, which had been generally better than the country's overall rate, increased further to become significantly higher than the rest of the country.
industries in washington, economy
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2015-15-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 02:15 PM
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