Relocate to Jefferson County

Interested in relocating?

EDC Team Jefferson is the Associate Development Organization (ADO) for Jefferson County. If you are a business owner or site selector interested in relocating to Jefferson County, please contact us for assistance in assessing the benefits and options of doing business here.

Choose Jefferson County, Washington!

Choose Washington and join the ranks of companies changing the way the world lives. Washington companies have a history of changing the way people live and work, from wireless technologies, to software, renewable energy, aerospace, bio-technology, medical technologies and global health. Companies in Washington have access to a highly educated and skilled workforce, new and fast growing opportunities for capital, a superior global trade network, and lower costs to do business.

Economic History

Jefferson County has a colorful history that includes logging and associated sawmills, whiskey smuggling, shipbuilding, towboats and tugboats, shipyards, an iron foundry, a fish cannery, and a brewery. Port Townsend experienced a boom-bust cycle with the speculation boom of 1889 and the depression of 1893, leaving in its wake many Victorian homes that have been restored.

From WorkforceExplorer, a service of the WA State Employment Security Department. Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., Regional Labor Economist. December 2010.


The population of Jefferson County was estimated at 29,300 in 2010. The population has grown by approximately 3,000 residents over the past 10 years from 26,299 in 2000. The population is projected to grow to 35,494 by 2020. The county’s population is projected to increase by 1.9 percent average annual growth in the next 10 years, and 1.6 percent average annual growth over the next 20 years, which is a higher growth rate than the United States and Washington state averages. The majority of this increase in population is expected to come from in-migration.

From 2000 through 2009, the average age of the population in Jefferson County has continued to reflect a greater concentration of older residents compared to the rest of Washington state. In 2009, 58.8 percent of the population was 45 years of age or older. This figure is projected to increase to 61.4 percent by the year 2030. By the end of 2009 the 20-to-29 year-old population in the county made up only 6.8 percent of the population.

For additional statistics on Jefferson County demographics, please check out our demographics and employment statistics page, and these links:

Industry Detail

Jefferson County’s economic strength is largely due to its diverse businesses and community. The Jefferson County economy pivots around nine business clusters:
  • Arts & Culture
  • Education
  • Small Business and Entrepreneur
  • Food & Farm
  • Healthcare
  • Marine Trades
  • Real Estate and Construction
  • Tourism & Retail
The nine business clusters demonstrate the talent and innovation present in Jefferson County. Successful businesses thrive based on their product and service uniqueness. These businesses are right-sized for the community and have found solutions to any difficulties posed by our rural and somewhat remote location. Their competitive edge based on location, local resource, skill sets and/or local talent. Built on innovation and ability to find the right mix of talent and knowledge, these businesses together participate in a vibrant and varied business environment. In virtually all cases, business owners and their workers locate here because of the lifestyle offered by this superb location and its people.

The Maritime, Arts and Culture, Food and Farm, Tourism and Retail clusters support each other. Together, they deliver amazing value to our community and draw well over one million visitors to our County each year. Technology, Manufacturing, Real Estate and Construction provide a foundation of professional and trades jobs within the community. These clusters support and are supported by our education and healthcare systems.

Labor Force

The labor force in Jefferson County has averaged about 13,020 individuals over the first nine months of 2010 and 13,150 throughout 2009.

The occupations projected to grow from 2010 to 2013 are, in order of growth:
  • Healthcare support
  • Healthcare practitioners
  • Technical positions
Legal occupations and computer/mathematical occupations are projected to increase while, not surprisingly, construction jobs are projected to continue their decline. Unemployment in the fall of 2010 remained high at 8.7 percent for September. These recent rates stand in fairly sharp contrast to earlier unemployment rates for Jefferson County, which averaged 5.4 percent in 2008 and 4.6 percent in 2007.


On average, the adult residents of Jefferson County over the age of 25 in most categories are better educated than their counterparts at the state and national levels. (Data from the 2000 U.S. Census) Jefferson County abounds with innovative life-long learning programs.
The Jefferson Education Center in Port Hadlock brings access to a variety of degree programs to Jefferson County. Associate degrees are offered through Peninsula College, as are Bachelor's to Doctoral programs through Old Dominion University and Washington State University. Accredited trade and technical schools include the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding and the Port Townsend School of Massage.

The WSU Jefferson County Extension offers continuing education in business, food & farming, and environmental stewardship. 4-H programs provide the backbone for youth services and programs throughout the county.

A variety of educational programs for youth and adults are offered through the plethora of non-profit organizations. Other cultural experiences and nature experiences are available through the Northwest Maritime Center, Centrum, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Port Townsend School of Woodworking, and many others.

Share by: