Creeping out of the shadow | Taking Stock

Jan 04, 2017

Twenty-eight years ago, I was a” Jeopardy!” contestant. Since there haven't been very many “Jeopardy!” contestants from Edmonds – I have met only one – that might be kind of a big deal, at least among trivia fans. Except that the winningest “Jeopardy!” contestant of all time, Ken Jennings, happens to be from Edmonds.

Score: Jennings 74, Raetzloff 0.

Snohomish County is in a similar situation. The combined market capitalization of Snohomish County shareholder-owned companies at the end of 2016 is $26.7 billion. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the value of one share by the total number of shares.

$26.7 billion is a gain of $20 billion from year-end 2015, about four times the previous record high, 57 percent greater than the combined value of 37 other counties in Washington, and greater than the value of each of at least 7 states. That seems like a pretty big deal, except when compared to the county that is the neighbor just to the south.

King County finished 2016 with a market value of $1.165 trillion, more than 96 percent of the $1.208 trillion value of Washington state. That was a gain of more than $100 billion for King County, and more than $130 billion for Washington. The seven most valuable companies in Washington are in King County, and 16 of the top 20.

That list is led by Microsoft, of course, at $483 billion. Amazon is second at $356 billion. Starbucks holds down third at $81 billion. Costco and T-Mobile U.S. round out the top 5. The most valuable company in Washington outside of King County is Fortive in Everett at $18.5 billion, eighth most valuable in the state.

Snohomish County had one other company in the 20 most valuable, No. 14 Seattle Genetics at $7.5 billion. Two other non-King County companies were in the top 20, Pierce County-based Columbia Bank at No.19 and just under $2.6 billion, and Spokane County-based Avista at No. 20, also just under $2.6 billion.

Twenty-seven companies in Washington were worth more than $1 billion each, nine of those outside King County in Snohomish, Spokane, Pierce, and Walla Walla counties – two each in Snohomish and Pierce, four in Spokane, and one in Walla Walla.

Ten companies were worth more than $10 billion. Nine of those are in King County, and one in Snohomish. Two, Microsoft and Amazon, are each worth more than $300 billion.

The comparison with King County may leave Snohomish County in a bit of shadow, but it was still a remarkably good year and a worthy platform to build on.

Tim Raetzloff operates Abarim Business Computers at Harbor Square in Edmonds. What he writes combines his sense of history and his sense of numbers. Neither he nor Abarim have an investment in any of the companies mentioned in this column.

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