Washington state has the strongest economy in the country, according to a recent report by WalletHub. The ranking was based on three criteria: economic activity, economic health and potential for innovation.
In particular, Washington ranked in the top five for exports per capita, average educational attainment of recent immigrants, percentage of jobs in high-tech industries and number of independent inventor patents. In addition to this, Washington also had the highest amount of research and development investments per capita.
Just behind Washington were Utah, in second place, and fellow West Coast representative California, coming in third. Our neighboring states also ranked high – with Oregon ninth and Idaho at number 13. Alaska and West Virginia were second-to-last and last, respectively.
Since the last economic ranking, Washington saw a 6% increase in the number of non-farm payrolls, and a 4% rise in the labor force—direct indicators of economic health. Other indicators of the state’s strong economy include the high median annual household income and low foreclosure rate.
Statewide, over 8% of Washington’s jobs are in high-tech industries, and more than 10% are in STEM fields. This is due to the presence of local tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, and the STEM prowess of the University of Washington. The health of our tech sector has likely contributed to King County’s all-time low unemployment rate of 1.9%, as well as to the state’s rapid recovery from the pandemic.
Because of the strength, flexibility and innovation of Washington’s leading industries, the state is well positioned to weather any future economic slowdowns—although hopefully it won’t have to.