272 Qualify as Pierce County’s Major Employers in 2019

Each year the Economic Development Board for Tacoma Pierce County (EDB) assembles and publishes the Pierce County Major Employers List. The goal of the Major Employers List is to showcase Pierce County’s employers by sharing full-time equivalent employment numbers with the community. This list is the most requested document produced by the EDB and is an essential part of the data provided to site selector and prospective new Pierce County businesses.

This year’s list identifies 272 Major Employers, each of which has 100 or more full-time equivalents (FTEs). The employers included on this year’s list represent 172,415 jobs.

The growth hasn’t stopped for Pierce County with major employers adding thousands of FTEs to their payrolls. Companies qualifying for the Major Employers List for the first time include Community Healthcare (503), Concentra Health Services, Inc (210), SSB Manufacturing Company (205), Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Washington (200), Palace Casino (156), Rickabaugh Pentecost Development (150), AHBL (132), Puyallup Nursing and Rehabilitation (130), City of Sumner (112), Avamere Health Services (108), Unifirst Corporation (104), SeaTac Packaging (100), First Student Transportation (100), McMenamins (100), Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (100) and more.


We are now asking Pierce County Businesses to submit their employment data for the 2020 Major Employers list! Please used the submission form here!

Interested in the information we receive from our Major Employers? Below are the highlights from our 2019 Major Employer List –

Largest Private Employers (primary firms/non-retail)

Primary businesses are firms that export goods or services out of Tacoma-Pierce County and import new dollars into the local economy.

Health care service providers continue to be Pierce County’s largest private employers. MultiCare Health System (8,264) and CHI Franciscan Health (5,862) retain their 2018 positions. Boeing (1,550), State Farm Insurance Company (1,461), Milgard Manufacturing (880), Kaiser Permanente (755), Sekisui Aerospace (AIM Aerospace) (678), Columbia Bank (658), DaVita (625), and Toray Composite Materials America (565) finished out the top 10 private employers.  Download list of 2019 Top 10 Private Employers

Top 10 Largest Public Employers 

The impact of Joint Base Lewis-McChord continues to be seen throughout Pierce County as it lands as the largest public employer on the 2019 Major Employers list with 54,000 FTEs. The State of Washington (7,745), City of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities (3,653), Tacoma Public Schools (3,481), Puyallup Tribe (3,422), Pierce County Government (3,118), Puyallup School District (2,690), Bethel School District (2,565), Clover Park School District (1,680), and the U.S. Postal Service (1,336) complete the top 10 public employers.  Download list of 2019 Top 10 Public EmployersHealth Care Services

It is no secret that health care is core competency of Pierce County. Major health care employers include hospitals, specialty care, senior services, and more. Our health care major employers reported 19,742 health services FTEs and 2,092 senior services FTEs. Together, these two segments represent over 7% of all FTEs reported by this year’s Major Employers List participants. MultiCare Health System (8,264) reported another employment increase, while CHI Franciscan (5,682) reported a transfer of employees into joint ventures and other branches of their organization, which shifted employment previously tracked under CHI Franciscan.

Not new to Pierce County, but a new participant to this year’s list is Community Health Care (503). Other top health services and senior services providers include Kaiser Permanente (775), Davita (625), TRA Medical Imaging (450), AACRES (467), and more.


Manufacturing as whole saw steady growth in Pierce County with the big winner being aerospace manufacturing. The leaders in aerospace include Boeing (1,550), Toray Composite Materials America (565), Sekisui Aerospace (AIM Aerospace) (380), General Plastics (207), Tool Gauge (170), Cadence Aerospace (130), P&J Machining (104), and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (102).

Manufacturers this year that experienced growth outside of aerospace include Aero Precision (320), Bradken (245), and SeaTac Packaging (100). Other firms that qualified for this year’s list include: Milgard Manufacturing (880), Westrock (399), Manke Lumber (370), Bellmont Cabinets (370), Concrete Technology (250), Northwest Door (250), Metagenics (200), James Hardie Building Products (180), and more.

Transportation, Trade, and Logistics 

Pierce Transit (985) is keeping Pierce County moving, being the largest transportation employer in the county. Other major transit employers include Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (457), FedEx (200), Freightliner Northwest (183), and more.

Pierce County has long been a logistics and distribution hub. Major logistics employers include McLane Northwest (440), World Fuel (210), Yusen Logistics (226), Fastenal (165), Regal Logistics (139), and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (100). Amazon’s two distribution centers (1,200) make it the largest distribution employer in the County. Other major employers in distribution are US Foods (260), Olympic Eagle Distributing (210), Gensco (200), Southern Wine & Spirits (200), U.S. Oil & Refining (Par Pacific) (197), and more.


The construction sector saw contained growth, citing Pierce County’s overall growing economy. Absher Construction (354) moved into the top spot after another year of substantial growth. Northwest Cascade (291), Tucci & Sons (200), McFarland Cascade (188), Wayne’s Roofing (143), and Korsmo Construction (118) follow closely behind. The Rush Companies (125) remain key players in the sector, and this year we welcome AHBL (132) to the list as they move from our Companies to Watch List. Businesses such as and Tacoma Screw Products (156) ensure reliable access to the supply chain while TrueBlue (443) connects employers to the workforce.

Note that these numbers do not include temporary construction workers who may be employed for months when mobilized for specific projects, often in succession.

Finance and Insurance 

State Farm (1,461), Regence (531), Coordinated Care (275), and Propel Insurance (155) are the County’s major insurance employers.

Columbia Bank (658), headquartered in Tacoma, remains the largest bank on the list. With continued growth in 2019, KeyBank (270) has jumped up the list becoming the second largest bank. Sound Credit Union (254), Harborstone Credit Union (252), Wells Fargo (230), Heritage Bank (196), America’s Credit Union (164), J.P. Morgan Chase (151), Umpqua Bank (145) and Bank of America (100) finish out the list of Pierce County’s major financial employers.

Recreation, retail, and Leisure

Rain or shine, Pierce County’s recreation, gaming and hospitality provide endless entertainment options no matter the weather. The Emerald Queen Casino (2,194), Metro Parks Tacoma (547), Crystal Mountain (300), Hollander Investments (190), Rainier Guest Services (240), Mount Rainier National Park (200), and McMenimins Elk Lodge (100) provide opportunities for fun and adventure to visitors and residents alike.

Restaurants chains The RAM Restaurant & Brewery (250), Farrelli’s Pizza (147), and Olive Garden Italian Kitchen (158) are the largest food service retailers with full-service restaurants.

Shop until you drop! Safeway/Albertsons (2,160) continues to lead the retail pack with Fred Meyer (1,364), Costco (1,200), Walmart (878), Target (878), Home Depot (706), and Lowe’s (472) to follow. REI’s retail location and distribution center (486), and O’Reilly’s retail locations and distribution center (397) and Best Buy (202) represent the largest retailers with distribution centers in Pierce County. Retailers Fred Meyer, REI, and O’Reilly’s have distribution centers and storefronts within Pierce County borders. Major automotive retailers include Robert Larson Automotive Group (660), Harnish Auto Family (287), and CarMax (170).


Pierce County won big in education across the spectrum this year seeing thousands of jobs added to both K-12 and higher education. Eighteen public and private elementary education schools combined with two technical colleges, three community colleges and three universities reported their employment in 2019. Together, the Pierce County talent pipeline grew by 21,018 FTEs and make up over 12% of our total Major Employers. Elementary education’s growth can be attributed to the State of Washington Legislative changes that added funding to many of our school districts.

Mid-sized Companies

Dozens of the businesses responding to the survey had fewer than 100 FTEs, our cutoff for major employers. These firms are important players in our economy and employ thousands of people across all industries, from aerospace manufacturing to technology services, from non-profits to logistics companies.

While we were not able to capture responses from every mid-sized company, those who reported are examples of hundreds of similarly sized businesses in Pierce County. We have shared these very important members of our business community on our Companies to Watch List and invite all our mid-sized businesses to participate next year.

Top 10 Largest Private Employers (primary firms/non-retail)

Primary businesses are firms that export goods or services out of Tacoma-Pierce County, importing new dollars into the local economy. Download list of 2019 Top 10 Private Employers. 

  1. MultiCare Health System
  2. CHI Franciscan Health
  3. Boeing
  4. State Farm Insurance Companies
  5. Milgard Manufacturing
  6. Kaiser Permanente
  7. Sekisui Aerospace (AIM Aerospace)
  8. Columbia Bank
  9. DaVita
  10. Toray Composite Materials America
Top 10 Largest Public Employers

Pierce County is home to JBLM, the State of Washington’s second-largest employer, which contributes $9.2 billion to the local economy every year.  Download list of 2019 Top 10 Public Employers.

  1. Joint Base Lewis-McChord
  2. State of Washington
  3. City of Tacoma (includes Tacoma Public Utilities)
  4. Tacoma Public Schools
  5. Pierce County Government
  6. Puyallup Tribe (includes Emerald Queen Casino)
  7. Puyallup School District
  8. Bethel School District
  9. Clover Park School District
  10. United States Postal Service
Private Employers with Significant Growth in 2019

These are the top 10 private companies who reported a 5% or greater year-over-year increase in their workforces. Download the full list of 2019 Fastest Growing Employers.

  • + 78% Sekisui Aerospace (AIM Aerospace)
  • + 78% Rainier Guest Services
  • + 74% Yusen Logistics
  • + 59% AHBL Construction
  • + 46% Toysmith
  • + 44% Infoblox
  • + 41% KeyBank
  • + 39% South Hill Operations
  • + 35% Light Dental Studio
  • + 30% Narrow’s Glen
Lists for Download

Full 2019 Major Employers Annual Report
Full report with all of the Major Employer List data and more exciting information about our employers and business community.

Major Employers List – Data Packet
Report with just the lists/data

Major Employers List – 100+ FTEs Only

Major Employers Ranked & Sorted by Industry

Companies to Watch List
Medium sized employers with 50-99 FTEs

Media Kit

2019 Major Employers Press Release

2019 Major Employers Digital Badge

2019 Major Employers List Infographics

About Our Methodology

• We asked companies to report their full-time equivalency (FTE), not an employee headcount.

• Companies reported in person, via phone, via email, and via online surveys.

• In cases when a company was unable to provide the FTE, we asked for a headcount and the full-time/part-time employee breakdown.

• We assumed that part-time workers average 0.5 FTE.

• When retail and food service companies reported a headcount, we assumed that half of the employee count is comprised of part-time workers and calculated those at 0.5 FTE.

• Estimated FTEs are based on industry averages where indicated by the “‡” symbol.

• We do not calculate year-to-year comparisons for companies that do not report inconsecutive years, nor for those whose figures are based on industry averages.

Your Company Counts.

Jacqueline Bellwoar economic development board for tacoma pierce county washington state usa staff

Jacqueline Moffo

Economic Development Manager

Contact Jacqueline