Seattle tops all metro areas of more than 2 million people nationally in a measure of its economic dynamism and now ranks as the fastest-growing major metro in the nation, according to an analysis just released by Greater Seattle Partners.
The greater Seattle area’s economy expanded by $23 billion in 2018, compared with the prior year, representing a 6.9% growth rate. That means the region’s economy expanded 2.3 times faster than the national average over the period, as measured by gross domestic product, or GDP.
The Greater Seattle Partners report is based on an analysis of recently released GDP figures from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
“Innovation and talent drive growth,” says Brian P. McGowan, chief executive officer of Greater Seattle Partners (GSP), a public/private economic-development group seeking to advance growth in the Puget Sound region. “We are overtaking places with far greater populations because our workers and our businesses are some of the most creative and productive in the world.”
Between 2017 and 2018, greater Seattle’s GDP jumped from $332.8 billion to $355.7 billion, the largest year-over-year change among all major U.S. metro areas. It represents the first time that greater Seattle ― or the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region ― has claimed the fastest-growing crown since the BEA began collecting the data nearly two decades ago. Greater Seattle now ranks as the 11th largest metro economy in the nation, and it's nipping on the heels of No. 10 Atlanta, which recorded a 2018 GDP of $357.3 billion.
The GDP growth rate in King County exceeded greater Seattle’s growth rate as a whole, jumping 7.6% over the period, from $258 billion to $277 billion, according to the GSP report. King County posted the second-highest growth rate among U.S. counties with populations exceeding 500,000 ― ranking behind only Santa Clara County, California, which posted a 10.2% GDP growth rate in 2018.
“In Snohomish County, real GDP grew from $37 billion to $39 billion, representing a 4.5 percent annual growth rate, which ranked 18th among counties over 500,000 in population,” the GSP report states. “In Pierce County, real GDP grew from $38 billion to $40 billion, representing a 4 percent annual growth rate and ranking 31st among U.S. counties over 500,000 in population.”