Retail plays a major role in support of the Washington State economy.

Nearly 400,000 people work for retailers across the state. The industry supports one in four American jobs and is the nation’s largest private sector employer.

In Washington State:

  • The retail industry has generated steadily increasing annual sales that generate tax revenues to the state. It set a record of $170.2 billion in taxable retail sales in 2018.
  • Retail sale and use taxes generate slightly more than have the state’s general fund budget for services to taxpayers.
  • Employment in retail has steadily grown in recent years. The retail industry employed 393,100 individuals statewide, as of January 2018.

Seattle Facts & Figures

City Budget

About 42 percent of Seattle’s $1.4 billion general operating fund comes from sales and business and occupation taxes. Each of these two tax categories contributes 21 percent. Sources: City Council…
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Employment

Seattle is home to an estimated 33,780 retail jobs. Sources: City Council budget committee; Downtown Seattle Association; Seattle Economic Development Department

Taxes Paid

Seattle retailers paid $624 million in federal, state and local taxes in 2018. Sources: City Council budget committee; Downtown Seattle Association; Seattle Economic Development Department

Economic Impact

The retail industry concentrated in Seattle contributed $2.6 billion in net economic impact (Gross Regional Product) in 2018.   Sources: City Council budget committee; Downtown Seattle Association; Seattle Economic Development…
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State Facts & Figures

State Budget

Retailers generate about half of the state’s general operating fund from sales taxes. Sources: Office of Financial Management; Employment Security; Revenue Department

Statewide Employment

The industry employed about 403,000 workers at the end of 2018. Sources: Office of Financial Management; Employment Security; Revenue Department

Growing Job Market

Retail employment grew an estimated 15.6 percent between 2013 and 2018. Sources: Office of Financial Management; Employment Security; Revenue Department

Record Retail Sales

Shoppers generated a record $170.2 billion in state taxable retail sales in 2018, a 9.6% gain compared to 2017. Sources: Revenue Department

Federal Facts & Figures

One in Four Jobs

The retail industry supports one in four jobs across the nation. Source: National Retail Federation

Largest Private Sector Employer

As the nation’s largest private sector employer, retail contributes $2.6 trillion to the annual Gross Domestic Product, the monetary value of all finished goods and services products in the U.S.…
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Most Retailers Are Small

98 percent of retailers are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Source: National Retail Federation

Sales Increase Annually

National retail sales have grown annually for each of the past 10 years, averaging 3 percent annual growth during that time. Source: National Retail Federation