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Economy of Washington (state) facts for kids

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The northwestern U.S. state of Washington's economy grew 3.7% in 2016, nearly two and a half times the national rate. Average income per head in 2009 was $41,751, 12th among states of the U.S.

The United States' largest concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers reside in Washington state. The state has a large volume of seaborne foreign trade with Asia. Leading economic sectors are government, real estate and rental leasing, and information; manufacturing comes fourth (8.6% of the state's GDP). Fruit and vegetable production, and hydroelectric power, are other important sectors. Important firms based in Washington include Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, and Microsoft.

Washington does not levy a personal income tax, but raises revenue through sales tax, property tax, and a gross receipts tax on businesses.


Personal income

The per capita personal income in 2009 was $41,751, 12th in the nation.

Among its resident billionaires, Washington boasts Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, who, with a net worth of $40 billion, was ranked the wealthiest man in the world as of February 2009, according to Forbes magazine. Other Washington state billionaires include Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Craig McCaw (McCaw Cellular Communications), James Jannard (Oakley), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Charles Simonyi (Microsoft).


Port of seattle
A container ship and the Bainbridge Island ferry near Terminal 46

Significant amounts of trade with Asia pass through the ports of the Puget Sound. Washington is the fourth largest exporting state in the United States, after New York, California, and Texas.

The ports of Washington handle 8% of all American exports and receive 6% of the nation's imports.


Employment by industry in Washington

Industry Employment thousands March 2013 Percent of total employment
Trade, transportation and utilities 548.2 18.84%
Government 540.9 18.59%
Education and health services 392.2 13.4%
Professional and business services 352.0 12.10%
Manufacturing 288.0 9.90%
Leisure and hospitality 281.7 9.65%
Financial activities 142.3 4.89%
Other services 112.4 3.86%
Information 104.7 3.60%
Mining, lodging and construction 6.1 0.21%
Total 2,909.5 100%


(under construction)

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