Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Economy of Washington (state)

The 2009 total gross state product for Washington was $336.3 billion, placing it 14th in the nation.

As of August 2013, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7%.

The per capita personal income in 2009 was $41,751, 12th in the nation.

Among its resident billionaires, Washington boasts Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, who, with a net worth of $40 billion, was ranked the wealthiest man in the world as of February 2009, according to Forbes magazine. Other Washington state billionaires include Paul Allen (Microsoft), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Craig McCaw (McCaw Cellular Communications), James Jannard (Oakley), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Charles Simonyi (Microsoft).

Significant amounts of trade with Asia pass through the ports of the Puget Sound. Washington is the fourth largest exporting state in the United States, after New York, California, and Texas.

The ports of Washington handle 8% of all American exports and receive 6% of the nation's imports.

Key businesses within the state include the design and manufacture of jet aircraft (Boeing), computer software development (Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Valve Corporation), online retailers (, Expedia, Inc.), electronics, biotechnology, aluminum production, lumber and wood products (Weyerhaeuser), mining, and tourism.

A Fortune magazine survey of the top 20 Most Admired Companies in the US has four Washington-based companies in it, Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco and Nordstrom.

Washington was one of eighteen states which had a government monopoly on sales of alcoholic beverages, although beer and wine with less than 20% alcohol by volume could be purchased in convenience stores and supermarkets. Liqueurs (even if under 20% alcohol by volume) and spirits could only be purchased in state-run or privately owned-state-contracted liquor stores. This however was overturned by 2011's Initiative 1183 which ceased state-run liquor stores as of June 1, 2012.

In 2004, Washington ranked first in the nation in production of red raspberries (90.0% of total U.S. production), wrinkled seed peas (80.6%), hops (75.0%), spearmint oil (73.6%), apples (58.1%), sweet cherries (47.3%), pears (42.6%), peppermint oil (40.3%), Concord grapes (39.3%), carrots for processing (36.8%), and Niagara grapes (31.6%). Washington also ranked second in the nation in production of lentils, fall potatoes, dry edible peas, apricots, grapes (all varieties taken together), asparagus (over a third of the nation's production), sweet corn for processing, and green peas for processing; third in tart cherries, prunes and plums, and dry summer onions; fourth in barley and trout; and fifth in wheat, cranberries, and strawberries.

The apple industry is of particular importance to Washington. Because of the favorable climate of dry, warm summers and cold winters of central Washington, the state has led the U.S. in apple production since the 1920s. Two areas account for the vast majority of the state's apple crop: the Wenatchee–Okanogan region (comprising Chelan, Okanogan, Douglas, and Grant counties), and the Yakima region (Yakima, Benton and Kittitas counties).

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