FACT SHEET: Washington State Jobs and Business Supported by Exports

Washington Exports & Foreign Investment

In 2016, Washington exported $79.6 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world, which supported an estimated 375 thousand jobs.

Exports from Washington and Jobs

  • Washington was the 3rd largest state exporter of goods in 2016.

  • In 2016, Washington goods exports were $79.6 billion, an increase of 88 percent ($37 billion) from its export level in 2006.

  • Goods exports accounted for 19.5 percent of Washington GDP in 2015 (latest year available).

  • An estimated 375 thousand jobs were supported by Washington goods exports in 2015 (latest year available). Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Washington and Jobs

  • In 2015, Washington exported $66.2 billion of manufactured products.

  • Washington exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 343 thousand jobs in 2015.

  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $47.9 billion of Washington's total goods exports in 2016.

  • Other top manufacturing exports are computer & electronic products ($3.8 billion), food & kindred products ($3.1 billion), petroleum & coal products ($2.1 billion), and machinery, except electrical ($1.9 billion).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Washington Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 12,211 companies exported from Washington locations in 2015 (latest year available). Of those, 10,901 (89.3 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.

  •  Small and medium-sized firms generated 19.3 percent of Washington's total exports of goods in 2015.

Washington Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was China. Washington exported $16.1 billion in goods to China in 2016, representing 20 percent of the state’s total goods exports.

  • China was followed by Japan ($7.1 billion), Canada ($7.0 billion), United Arab Emirates ($4.2 billion), and Korea, South ($4.2 billion).

  • Washington’s exports to major world areas included:


2016 Value


$49.3 billion


$47.4 billion

European Union

$11.1 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$2.6 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa

$1.3 billion


  • 22 percent of Washington’s exports ($17.7 billion) go to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in Washington depends on Exports

  • Washington is the country’s 10th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $3.8 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2015 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]

  • Washington exports of agricultural products supported roughly an estimated 29 thousand jobs in 2013 (latest data available), both on and off the farm.

  • Top Agricultural exports were:


2015 Value


 2015 State Rank

fruits, fresh

$828 million



fruits, processed

$808 million



other plant products

$728 million




$333 million



vegetables, processed

$302 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Washington

  • In 2014 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 105,600 Washington workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Washington included Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.

  • Foreign investment in Washington was responsible for 4.1 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2014.

Washington State’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2015 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Washington recorded goods exports:

  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ($67.2 billion)

  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro ($18.8 billion, portions of this MSA are shared withone or more other states)

  • Longview ($2.3 billion)

  • Bellingham ($2.0 billion)

  • Yakima ($1.3 billion)

  • Spokane-Spokane Valley ($823 million)

  • Mount Vernon-Anacortes ($708 million)

  • Kennewick-Richland ($584 million)

  • Wenatchee ($506 million).

[1] Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.