The Seattle area is a leader in the aerospace and computer software industries. Microsoft Corp. is headquartered in Redmond, and Boeing Co. serves as a major employer in the Puget Sound region. Many smaller software development firms are located throughout the state. While aerospace continues to account for a significant share of area jobs, one of the fastest-growing industries is biomedical technology. The local biotechnology and medical device industry consists of approximately 170 firms and nonprofit research organizations.
The Seattle metro has a population of more than 3.5 million individuals and is comprised of Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. There are many small cities and towns in the metro, in addition to the well-known cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma. Seattle is the largest city with 629,600 residents followed by Tacoma. Outlying cities recorded the largest population increases over the past decade as people moved toward lower land and housing costs.
Economic diversity in Seattle is achieved with a highly skilled and educated work force, advanced transportation and distribution infrastructure, manufacturing capabilities, and access to national and global markets. International trade plays an important role in Seattle's economy.
The metro is home to eight Fortune 500 companies: Costco, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, PACCAR, Expeditors and Weyerhaeuser. Many of these businesses are major employers in the region.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro is located in the state of Washington, 113 miles south of the Canadian border. It is situated between the Cascade Mountains to the east, Mount Rainier to the southeast and the Puget Sound to the west. Many rivers and lakes bisect the region, limiting the amount of developable land. Rising land costs have led to the redevelopment of the older areas with higher densities. Buildable land is available on the outskirts of the metro.