Greater Seattle’s Explosive Job Growth Eclipses Employment Gains in Most Other U.S. Metros

King County is leading the charge in the region, with its employment gain for the period analyzed ranking fourth among all U.S. counties
Updated: Fri, 03/06/2020 - 13:04
 
 
  • King County is leading the charge in the region, with its employment gain for the period analyzed ranking fourth among all U.S. counties

The greater Seattle area posted the seventh-largest gain in employment among large metros and King County recorded the fourth-highest employment growth among all U.S. counties for the third quarter of last year, according to an analysis of just-released Census Bureau figures by Greater Seattle Partners.

Average employment for the quarter on a non-seasonally adjusted basis shows the greater Seattle region — King, Snohomish and Pierce counties — recorded an increase of 55,415 jobs year over year in third-quarter 2019, to about 2.1 million. That was the seventh largest gain among metro areas in the country, putting greater Seattle ahead of metros such as San Francisco, Boston and Denver, Minneapolis and Austin, Texas, according Greater Seattle Partners, a regional economic development group.

King County accounted for the bulk of that employment gain, some 44,715 jobs, to 1.45 million total jobs as of third-quarter 2019, earning it a fourth-place showing among all counties in the nation.

“In the same time period, average weekly wages [in the three-county region] grew from $1,542 to $1,602,” the Greater Seattle Partners’ report states. “Expressed on an average annual-wage basis that means an increase from $80,184 to $83,304, a gain of 3.9%.” That put the greater Seattle area in fourth place for weekly wage growth for the period among U.S. metro areas, behind only San Francisco, Boston and Austin, Texas, according to the report. 

The strong local jobs figures for the third quarter of last year mirror the national jobs report for February — which showed some 273,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy for the month, eclipsing the 175,000 projection. That helped to edge the U.S. unemployment rate down to 3.5%.

But the February results released today, March 6, cover a period prior to the full onslaught of the coronavirus invasion. “This could be the last perfect employment report the market gets for some time,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, told CNBC.

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