Buoyed by a booming tech sector, Seattle surpasses Atlanta to claim 10th largest regional economy

Seattle’s economy is now ranked 10th in the U.S. by GDP. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The Seattle region continues to boom.

The regional economy — encompassing Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue — boasts a gross domestic product of $383 billion, according to an analysis by Greater Seattle Partners using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That now places the Seattle metropolitan area in the top 10 largest regional economies in the U.S., nudging Atlanta to 11th place. The Seattle regional economy grew by 5.1% from 2018 to 2019, and this marks the first time that Seattle has gained a spot since 2012.

It should be noted that the analysis is based on data before COVID-19 shuttered large swaths of the economy. However, Seattle’s booming tech sector has kept the economic engines of the region humming as large technology companies like Microsoft and Amazon post blockbuster results, with stock prices to match. Microsoft’s market value stands at $1.61 trillion, while Amazon is not too far behind at $1.56 trillion.

Just this week, GeekWire reported on a surge in venture capital dollars flowing into the region, propelling a new generation of life sciences, health care and software companies. And unlike the San Francisco Bay Area which is undergoing what some have dubbed an “exodus” of tech talent, Seattle seems to be holding firm.

Employee migration data from LinkedIn shows that Seattle added 2.2 tech workers for every one worker that left, from March to October of last year. That’s just slightly below the 2.5 number recorded in 2019.

“While there is no doubt that our ‘superstar city’ status is fueled by the tech industry and being home to two of the largest cloud computing companies on the planet, our pioneering spirit has long created household global brands from coffee to fashion to flight,” said Brian McGowan, chief executive officer of Greater Seattle Partners.

And just how important is Seattle’s economy to the rest of Washington state?

Consider this: King County — where the tech hubs of Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue are located — showed a gross domestic product of $294 billion in 2019. That’s more than half of the entire state of Washington whose 39 counties had a gross domestic product of $548 billion.

Here’s a look at the top economic regions in the U.S., and changes in GDP from 2018 to 2019.

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