Washington Employment Statistics

  • 248,759 employers
  • 3,374,998 employees
  • $1,272 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 15.5% above the national average
  • The cost of living is 9.5% above the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in Washington, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 98.1% of employers run private companies in the state, BIGGER1.1% greater than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 1.9% of employers are government agencies: 0.5% work in a federal agency, 0.4% work for the state and 0.9% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
83.3% of employees work for a private company. This is 1.9% below the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 10.5% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 3.9% of the workers and the federal government employs 2.2%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (16.7%) is 1.9% higher than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in Washington is $1,272 per week, which is 15.5% less than the national average of $1,101 per week. Washington workers that are employed by private businesses earn $1,281 per week, 16.5% greater than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in Washington earn $1,573 per week, a premium of 22.8% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 23.2% of the businesses in the state. Professional services (10.7%) and Construction (10.4%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Healthcare57,59423.2%
Professional services26,64510.7%
Construction25,97310.4%
Retail trade20,1418.1%
Other services19,8448.0%
Accommodation and food services17,4377.0%
Wholesale trade13,8585.6%
Waste services12,7845.1%
Finance and insurance9,0813.7%
Real estate and rental8,4823.4%
Manufacturing7,7943.1%
Agriculture and forestry7,1552.9%
Transport and warehousing4,9842.0%
Information4,6161.9%
Educational services3,3991.4%
Arts and entertainment2,9861.2%
Company management7140.3%
Utilities3070.1%
Mining and oil extraction1560.1%
Unclassified540.0%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 12.5% of the employees in the state. Retail trade (11.2%) and Manufacturing (8.4%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Healthcare421,66912.5%
Retail trade379,66111.2%
Manufacturing284,1568.4%
Accommodation and food services283,2298.4%
Professional services201,6236.0%
Construction200,1495.9%
Waste services168,6845.0%
Wholesale trade133,6534.0%
Information133,1753.9%
Agriculture and forestry107,3293.2%
Transport and warehousing103,3433.1%
Other services99,1282.9%
Finance and insurance94,4902.8%
Real estate and rental53,3991.6%
Arts and entertainment53,0041.6%
Company management44,5931.3%
Educational services44,1011.3%
Utilities5,0370.1%
Mining and oil extraction2,5780.1%
Unclassified140.0%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Information paying $3,745per week compared with the state average of $1,281. Unclassified ($3,620) and Company management ($2,268) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Information$3,745292.3%
Unclassified$3,620282.6%
Company management$2,268177.0%
Professional services$1,949152.1%
Utilities$1,917149.6%
Finance and insurance$1,826142.5%
Wholesale trade$1,546120.7%
Manufacturing$1,526119.1%
Mining and oil extraction$1,365106.6%
Construction$1,24096.8%
Transport and warehousing$1,16390.8%
Retail trade$1,13288.4%
Real estate and rental$1,06182.8%
Healthcare$1,01379.1%
Waste services$96975.6%
Other services$77760.7%
Educational services$75058.5%
Arts and entertainment$62448.7%
Agriculture and forestry$62248.6%
Accommodation and food services$46236.1%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Washington. the industry with the most businesses is Services for the elderly and disabled with 16.1% of the businesses in the state (with 40,149 employing 62,835 workers). Restaurants and other eating places (5.6%) and Computer systems design and related services (3.3%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Services for the elderly and disabled40,1491.6
Restaurants and other eating places13,86116.1
Computer systems design and related services8,1047.0
Residential building construction7,8433.8
Private households6,4461.1
Wholesale trade agents and brokers4,5214.1
Management consulting services3,7725.9
Offices of dentists3,2228.5
Landscaping services3,2065.4
Accounting and bookkeeping services3,1916.2


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.6% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 223,338 in 13,861 businesses, there are 16.1 employees on average in each of these businesses. General medical and surgical hospitals (2.5%) and Aerospace product and parts manufacturing (2.5%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places223,33816.1
General medical and surgical hospitals85,1641,026.1
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing83,876421.5
Software publishers65,21251.9
Services for the elderly and disabled62,8351.6
Computer systems design and related services56,7637.0
Supermarkets and other grocery stores55,35541.0
Offices of physicians52,54819.9
Temporary help services50,18829.8
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters48,883109.8


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Investment banking and securities dealing, paying $5,362 compared with the state average of $1,281. Open-end investment funds ($4,978) and Software publishers ($4,792) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
Investment banking and securities dealing$5,362418.6
Open-end investment funds$4,978388.6
Software publishers$4,792374.1
Internet publishing and web search portals$4,464348.5
Commodity contracts brokerage$4,248331.6
Electronic shopping and mail-order houses$4,223329.7
Unclassified$3,620282.6
Other financial vehicles$3,559277.8
Securities and commodity exchanges$3,548277.0
Portfolio management$3,522274.9


Company Size

Washington Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Washington by far. 65.6% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 225,235 small businesses in the state represent 96.1% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

Washington Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 154.7% of all employees, which is 16.2% higher than the national average of 138.4%. Interestingly, the smallest companies in the state employ a higher percentage than the largest companies, this is not typical. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 97.4% of all workers, which is 5.9% higher than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 520.3% of the labor force in the state, 29.7% less than the national average of 550.0%.

Washington Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in Washington (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 18.5% less than the national average ($823 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in Washington (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 35.3% workers above the national average ($2,909 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.