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Performance, Strategy and Budget

Annual Indicators and Measures

Economic Growth and Built Environment

Strong Economy


Support a strong, diverse, and sustainable economy

What is happening in King County?

Overall, King County is a good place to work. Unemployment in King County as a whole has followed state and national trends, but remained slightly below those levels. For almost all racial/ethnic groups in King County, median income has increased in the decade between 1999 and 2010.

Between 2009 and 2012, the number of jobs in King County has grown to 1,171,900, an increase of 5 percent. With the exception of the Financial Activities and Construction sectors, all sectors have grown since 2009. The largest of these sectors--the Trade, Transportation, Utilities sector provides 19 percent of the jobs in King County in 2012.

King County, as part of the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area, is ranked 16th on Forbes 2012 list of Best Places for Business and Careers.

When looking at different groups of King County residents, however, there are significant disparities in income and unemployment. Income for African Americans and Native Americans is the lowest in King County, nearly half the median income for White and Asian residents. And median income for African American and Native American residents has grown much less than income for other groups.

In March, 2013, the latest period with data, unemployment in King County was 5.1 percent, similar to levels in 2008. Despite an improvement in the unemployment rate and reduced disparities in unemployment by city, there are still areas in South King County with unemployment rates higher than the County average. Similarly, median household income in King County has improved, but here too we see disparities between race/ethnicity that have persisted during the recent recession.

For a single adult, most jobs in King County pay a wage that supports self-sufficiency. However, less than 40 percent of King County jobs pay enough to support one adult with one or two young children. The self-sufficiency wage was developed by researchers working with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, and includes the funds needed to support an individual or family without requiring any governmental or other financial assistance. For some individuals supporting families, it may be difficult to gain employment that covers living expenses.

What role does King County play?

King County supports business development efforts through partnerships as well as county initiatives and through King County contracts. Workforce development efforts are integrated into both human service programs provided through the Department of Community and Human Services, as well as King County's direct contracting in construction and other trade areas.

In addition, King County maintains infrastructure to support economic growth and vitality.

What else influences these indicators?

Many factors contribute to a vibrant and sustainable economy, including a favorable business climate, a trained workforce, adequate public infrastructure, land supply, predictable regulations, advancing technology, affordable housing, available capital, and a healthy natural environment.

Several factors contribute to the employment and earning potential of King County residents. Educational and training opportunities are crucial to developing a highly skilled professional and technical workforce.

Related Links

Forbes List of Best Places for Business and Careers

The Prosperity Partnership

Self-Sufficiency Standard

Expand to read technical notesTechnical Notes

Charts and Maps

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Median Household Income

Average Unemployment Rate