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Bellingham, WA Employment Information
Bellingham, Washington Overview
Bellingham is the last major city along the Washington coastline before the Canadian border. The thirteenth-largest city in Washington, Bellingham is home to over 82,000 residents. Since its incorporation in 1904, the city has become a hub for recreational, educational, cultural, and economic activity. Forbes ranks Bellingham 41st on its list of the best small places for business and careers, 110th for cost of doing business and 30th for education. The area is home to many institutions of higher learning, including Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Northwest Indian College. The median age of Bellingham residents is 31.3 years.
Bellingham Job Opportunities
Employment is driven mostly by the healthcare, government and education jobs in Bellingham. Western Washington University is the city's top employer, with 2,235 employees. Job titles at the university include associate or assistant professor, assistant department director, administrative assistant, student advisor and mechanic. St. Joseph hospital is the second-largest employer, with 1,757 employees. Positions at St. Joseph include physician, nurse, lab assistant, patient advocate, pharmacy technician and physician assistant.
Bellingham School District is the third-largest employer, with 1,651 employees. The school district frequently hires teachers, substitute teachers, counselors and nurses. Whatcom County is the next-largest employer, with 930 employees in positions like operations specialist, public health nurse and deputy sheriff. Ferndale jobs are also available to those willing to commute.
Bellingham Employment Trends
Employment growth overall is strong in Bellingham - the city ranks in the top 100 on Forbes' job growth list. In 2013, the city experienced job growth of 2.1 percent and an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. The fastest-growing jobs in the area include registered nurse (18-26 percent), home care and personal aides (18-26 percent), food preparation and service workers (9-17 percent), cleaners and janitors (9-17 percent) and retail sales (8 percent). The college attainment level for the city is 31 percent and continues to grow, potentially making the job market more competitive in the future for those without a college degree.
Bellingham Cost of Living
The cost of living in Bellingham is 6.2 percent above the national average and just slightly above the Washington average. The cost of living indices that are significantly higher than the national average are housing, healthcare, transportation and grocery. The median home price is $239,400, with home prices rising almost 16 percent in the past year. The median household income is $49,630, and household income grew by 0.4 percent in the past year. Per capita income in the city is $23,288.