Bellingham, WA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Growth Amidst National Slowdown

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Bellingham’s job market maintained its positive momentum in December 2023, adding jobs and defying the national trend of slowing employment growth. The unemployment rate remained stable, indicating continued labor market strength in the region.


  • Job gains: Bellingham added 200 jobs in December, bringing the total number of employed residents to 116,400.
  • Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, matching the November rate and remaining below the national average of 4.1%.
  • Wage growth: Average wages in Bellingham continued to rise, albeit at a slightly slower pace than earlier in the year.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Professional and business services: This sector added the most jobs in December, with gains in healthcare, education, and management consulting.
  • Leisure and hospitality: The tourism industry continued its recovery, adding jobs in hotels, restaurants, and recreation.
  • Construction: Construction activity remained strong, with job gains in residential and commercial building.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector saw a slight decline in employment, primarily in the aerospace and electronics industries.
  • Retail trade: Brick-and-mortar retail continued to face challenges, with job losses in department stores and clothing stores.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Bellingham’s job growth outpaced the national average in December 2023. The city added 2.2% more jobs compared to December 2022, while the national job growth rate was 1.5%.
  • The unemployment rate in Bellingham remained lower than the national average throughout 2023.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Job growth in Bellingham slowed slightly compared to November 2023, when the city added 300 jobs.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous month.

Future Outlook:

The Bellingham job market is expected to remain stable in the coming months, with continued job growth in healthcare, education, and professional services. However, potential national economic headwinds could impact local hiring in the later half of 2024.

10 Growing Occupations in Bellingham (December 2023):

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Software developers
  3. General and operations managers
  4. Customer service representatives
  5. Elementary school teachers
  6. Construction laborers
  7. Truck drivers
  8. Accountants and auditors
  9. Physician assistants
  10. Retail salespersons

10 Companies Hiring Now in Bellingham:

  1. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center
  2. Western Washington University
  3. Bellingham Public Schools
  4. REI
  5. Starbucks
  6. Boeing
  7. Lynden Transport
  8. Banner Bank
  9. CMI Electronics
  10. Squalicum Brewery