by Hans D. Stroo on October 8, 2014

Check out these five data visualizations exploring the landscape of Washington State’s workforce – and, by extension, its economy.

All data comes from the Employment Security Department. Occupational Employment & Wage Estimates for the 2004-2014 data set. For the forecast of 2022, the Long Term Occupational Projections were used.

Use the Quick Filters to organize the data along your own custom parameters. Apologies to those on mobile, these will not display correctly on smartphones.

1. What’s changed? 2004-2014

  • Over the last ten years, the fastest growing occupation in Washington State has been a very well compensated one: Software Application Developers. The number employed between 2004 and 2014 increased by 227 percent.
  • Digital technology appears to have shifted the dynamics of business management. The biggest decline among the top 50 occupations was in Office Worker Supervisors – there were 95 percent less in 2014 than in 2004.​

2. What lies ahead? 2012-2022 Forecast

  • These long-term occupational projections are developed by the state’s Employment Security Department based on survey research, and revised on an annual basis.
  • The largest total job add will come from health services and social assistance, followed by professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • The highest growth rate is expected within a sub-sets of manufacturing: machinery manufacturing (48.9 percent) and electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing (47.8 percent).
  • Total nonfarm employment is expected to grow by 17.5 percent between 2012 and 2022 – adding a net haul of roughly 500,000 jobs to the state’s workforce.
  • The fastest growing sector is construction, which is expected to grow 39 percent in those ten years – adding 54,300 jobs around the state.
  • Professional and business services is another major growth sector, projected to grow at 32 percent and add 111,700 jobs in the ten year period.
  • The general manufacturing sector is set to shrink as a share of the total workforce. It is projected to grow at 7 percent, less than half of the rate at which the total workforce will grow.
  • Government jobs are projected to grow at around 9.5 percent, slower than total workforce growth. Nonetheless, the government sector will add 51,800 total jobs.

3. Who makes under $15/hour in Washington State?

The debate over a $15/hour minimum wage in Seattle begs the question of which occupations in Washington earn under that amount. This visualization shows all occupations for which the statewide mean hourly wage is under $15.

  • Dishwashers and fast food workers are among the lowest paid occupations in the state.
  • Retail Salespersons are the single largest occupation by number employed. The average hourly wage for a retail worker is $14/hour.

4. When it pays to teach. And when it doesn’t.

  • Some teaching jobs pay better than others. The largest categories (substitutes and teaching assistants) were the lowest paid.
  • Health specialties instructors were the best compensated. Their average annual salary was about $134,000.

5. Explore the data yourself!

This final visualization incorporates the Top 200 Occupations in Washington State by number employed. The Quick Filter is pre-set to include the universe of occupations earning between $15 and $55 per hour. Start manipulating the values and create an occupational landscape of your own custom wage bracket.