By Jon Talton, The Seattle Times
Newcomers -- and there are many -- might think that the Puget Sound region's economy is so hot because of two Big Tech headquarters, along with the "legacy" power of Boeing.
It's understandable. Amazon and Microsoft are two of the five giants that make up America's technology royalty (Apple, Facebook and Google are in the Bay Area). We're on the cutting edge of software, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and so much more.
Boeing's operations, especially commercial airliners, anchor one of the world's top aerospace clusters (the other being Airbus in Toulouse, France). The company is not only the nation's largest manufacturing exporter, but also, especially with its defense divisions, a strategic asset.
Together, the three employ about 166,000 here in well-paid, high-skilled jobs. Boeing is Washington's largest private employer, with a workforce of 69,830 as of February.
It's hard to think of another similar-sized metropolitan area in the United States with anything close.
But this is only a start in explaining why Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue enjoys one of the strongest economies in the nation. How strong? Per capita gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, was nearly $81,000 in 2017. That compares with $61,000 in San Diego and $63,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Larger Phoenix lagged in at $45,000...