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Washington’s growth industries

Washington State’s bustling economy truly has something for everyone. With more than a half million businesses in the state, we cover nearly every industry and profession imaginable. Following are the key industries we dedicate additional resources to, largely because they have the most potential for creating economic wealth and job growth throughout the state in the years to come.

Established Sectors

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Aviation & Aerospace

The undisputed global leader in aerospace, Washington’s aviation industry goes back more than a century. The state has more than 1,500 firms in its aerospace cluster, developing and building products and services for major manufacturers and airlines throughout the world, including Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier.

A farmer uses a drone to administer fertilizer to a crop.

Agriculture & Food Manufacturing

The state’s 39,500 farms grow, produce and ship 300 different crops, ranking second in the nation. Food and beverage production supports 164,000 jobs in Washington State, which is the leading producer of apples, sweet cherries, pears, raspberries and hops in the United States.

Clean Technology

Washington is a major player in developing new, renewable and sustainable energy sources while protecting the environment. Businesses are engaged in an array of research and development projects utilizing wind, solar, tidal, biofuel and biomass technologies that will reduce our carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels.

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Creative Economy

Taking an idea and turning it into a viable product or service, one that can be monetized, sold and resold, is one of the most powerful ways to increase wealth and equity throughout the state while ensuring diversity and inclusivity. More than 180,000 workers are employed in the creative sector, which includes designers, artisans, 3-D technologists, digital designers and many more traditional and emerging disciplines.

Cross-laminated timber in a mill awaits the glue to dry before being further processed.

Forest Products

For nearly 200 years Washington’s forest products sector has been a mainstay of the state’s economy. As the third largest manufacturing industry in Washington, the sector is composed of 1,700+ companies representing a range of product lines, from raw timber and laminates to next-generation biofuels.

Information & Communication Technology

Fourteen thousand companies and more than 275,000 tech-based workers are changing the way we manage, manipulate and interact with information. Legendary businesses such as Microsoft, Expedia, T-Mobile and Amazon are joined by a new generation of companies such as Google and Facebook to bring new ideas to market quickly and efficiently.

Life Science & Global Health

Some of the most important advances in medicine and global health have come from Washington State, including revolutionary new treatments for cancer, kidney disease and heart attacks. Our critical mass of world-class research facilities, nimble life science companies and global health organizations is improving health around the world.


With thousands of miles of shoreline, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Washington State is a powerhouse for the maritime industry, employing 69,500 trades people, shipwrights and marine engineers. The industry is focusing on electrification of marine vessels, from fishing fleets to the state’s ferries.

Military & Defense

Tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars flow into the state’s economy from the military and defense sector. Washington has six active duty military installations and is 6th in the nation in the number of active duty military, with 69,125 military personnel and another 90,246 dependents and 19,474 reservists.


The state’s fourth largest industry, Tourism brings in more than $21 billion annually to Washington and employs 180,000+ workers statewide. Due to its geographic locale and direct access to international markets in Asia and Europe, Washington is a popular destination for visitors around the world.

Other High Growth Industries

Perseverance lander on approach to landing on Mars.


Given the state’s rich history in aerospace, it comes as no surprise that Washington has a burgeoning space cluster that includes well-established players and innovative newcomers focused on a wide range of opportunities in commercial and government space exploration.

A team explores robotics in a lab

Innovation Cluster Accelerators

This program focuses on building an economic future that is as inclusive, diverse and resilient as the people who live here. It encourages cluster members to work together to foster new ideas to solve industry challenges, drive innovation, increase market access and stimulate growth. 

A biofuel plant converting cow waste into fuel.

Industrial Symbiosis

One company’s waste is another company’s opportunity. As the economy moves toward a circular economy, industrial symbiosis creates valuable collaborative opportunities to reuse waste, byproducts, residues, energy and water that used to be disposed of or ended up in landfills.

Semiconductors robotically produced from silicon wagers.


With its historic leadership in manufacturing and technology, Washington is a natural choice for the semiconductor industry, from R&D and advanced materials to robotics and next-gen innovation.

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