Washington Tech Sector Accounts for 1.5 Million Jobs, Report Finds
Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a robust, equity-centered technology sector that empowers thriving communities, has announced the launch of a new report, Technology Sector Economic Outlook in Washington State and the Greater Seattle Region. Prepared in partnership with Amazon, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), and the input of many member organizations, the report highlights the essential and growing role of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and tech roles in non-tech industries while advocating for policies to support the ICT industry’s continued vitality in Washington state.
The ICT sector is a leading pillar of Washington’s economy. In 2022, the ICT industry directly employed 360,900 people, making it the fastest-growing industry in the state. Tech sector employers also added 89,000 new workers to their payrolls between 2019 and 2022, an increase of 33 percent. Overall, Washington’s tech sector accounts for nearly 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs. Each job in the tech sector is associated with four jobs across the state economy. According to one national study, Washington’s tech sector represents 22 percent of the state economy, higher than any other state in the union.
“Tech’s economic impact goes far beyond the industry itself,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO, Washington Technology Industry Association. “The sector plays a central role in increasing prosperity across other aspects of the state economy, directly and indirectly supporting new jobs, income and revenue across Washington.”
According to Tatsuya “Ted” Fuse, Senior Vice President at Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), “We were pleased to partner with WTIA on this report. It highlights the technological innovations, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and high-skilled workforce that make Washington state a desirable location for companies like ours. We plan to continue working with key local players like WTIA to further promote this region as a catalyst for developing impactful technology.”
The tech industry has also been a catalyst of growth and economic recovery during the last two recessions. Amid the 2020-2021 pandemic and global recession, the ICT sector in Washington added more new jobs in 2020 than it did in 2019 (20,900 new workers, compared with 20,800 in 2019 and 16,000 in 2018). While statewide employment contracted 5.3 percent in 2020, ICT employment grew 7.7 percent. Overall, tech provided 20 percent of Washington state’s job growth between the two recessions.
“The data is clear. Tech is a primary driver of our state’s economy. Washington’s recovery from the past two recessions would have been much weaker in the absence of the tech industry’s growth,” continued Schutzler.
Human capital remains the most important asset in tech, and recent layoffs, while significant, are small relative to the industry’s net growth. Reported ICT sector layoffs as of early May 2023 are equivalent to 15 percent of net job growth in the sector in 2022, bringing statewide ICT jobs back to the same job levels as April 2022. There remain many unfilled tech positions, with many more projected over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer and information technology occupations to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030 alone, faster than the average for all occupations.
Despite these recent workforce reductions, Washington’s tech sector is well-positioned to continue its leadership as a global center of innovation. The state is home to numerous new technologies that will shape the course of human society, manufacturing, clean energy, maritime activities, and healthcare. Some of these technologies include generative artificial intelligence, 5G, edge computing and digital transformation, cloud, satellite broadband, healthcare, and clean energy.
To download the full report, please visit here.