Growth of Women-Owned Businesses in Washington Outpacing Overall Business Growth

Seattle’s women-owned business community ranks as one of the top metros in the nation for ‘employment vitality,’ new study shows
Updated: Tue, 09/24/2019 - 13:54
 
 
  • Seattle’s women-owned business community ranks as one of the top metros in the nation for ‘employment vitality,’ new study shows

Washington as of this year has an estimated 215,185 women-owned businesses, up 10% since 2014 and up 3.9% from 2018, American Express’ ninth annual State of Women-Owned Business Report shows.

The women-owned business in the state this year employed an estimated 202,869 people, up 11% from 2014 and an increase of 4.2% from last year, the report shows. Collectively, those businesses will generate projected sales this year of $33.6 billion, up 14.5% from five years earlier and an increase of 5.5% compared with last year.

The disparity between total businesses and total employment is explained by the fact that not all the businesses are full-time endeavors. “Women-owned businesses [nationally] employ fewer workers on average (0.7) than all privately held businesses (1.8) and all firms,” the report notes.

In the Seattle metro area, according to the study, as of this year there are an estimated 129,527 women-owned businesses, up 14.5% from 2014 and a 3.1% jump from last year. Employment stood at an estimated 126,192 workers this year, up 17.6% from 2014 and up 3.7% from 2018. Sales generated by Seattle-area women-owned businesses are projected at $22.5 billion this year, up 21.7% from the 2014 mark and an increase of 4.5% over last year.

The pace of growth of women-owned firms in the Seattle area and Washington state over the past five years eclipses measures of total new-business growth nationally (9%) and total employment growth across all businesses (1.8%), the American Express study notes.

One area that metropolitan Seattle excels in is “employment vitality,” a measure of the employment-growth rate from 2014-2019 and the average number of employees at women-owned companies over that same period. Seattle ranked third in the nation on that measure, according to the report, trailing only San Antonio and Minneapolis/St. Paul. 

The state results mirror the strong growth patterns of women-owned businesses nationwide, the American Express-sponsored report shows.

“The annual report analyzes industry, revenue and employment size at the national, state and metropolitan levels to illustrate the impact women-owned businesses have on the U.S. economy,” the report states. “This year’s report shows that between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses [nationwide] climbed 21% to nearly 13 million, employment grew by 8% to 9.4 million and revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion.”

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