Puget Sound’s Trade and Competitiveness

The Most Internationalized Region in the United States

We all know the statistic that one in three jobs in Washington is dependent on international trade but sometimes the obvious bears repeating. No region in the United States is more tied to international business and the international economy than the Puget Sound region. Whether you are a banker, barista or barber you are part of the global economy.


  • Taken together, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are the third-largest container complex in the United States.
  • Goods flowing through the ports of Puget Sound lead to tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
  • More than $40 billion worth of goods travel through the ports of Puget Sound each year.
  • Nearly 10 percent of passengers through SeaTac Airport are international, totaling 2.3 million people.
  • International cargo accounts for 19 percent of the air cargo through SeaTac.

Exports and Imports

  • Washington state exports nearly three times more than the average U.S. state.
  • Total Washington state trade, including exports and imports, is more than two times the average U.S. state.
  • These jobs are generally higher wage jobs.

High Technology

  • Our largest companies, employing tens of thousands of people depend on international markets. More than 70 percent of Boeing’s sales are overseas and more than 60 percent of Microsoft’s are destined for international locations.
  • High technology is one of the top three exporting industries of Washington State, along with aerospace and agriculture.


  • One of the three largest exporting industries in Washington state, agriculture products are exported all over the world.
  • Large number of jobs dependent on exports

Indirect jobs.

  • With one in three jobs dependent on international trade that means every third customer in the barber’s chair is tied to international trade. So barbers and other service providers get their customers from international trade.


Return to Main