Military branches employ a significant number of Thurston County residents. The majority of these jobs occur at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The base employs more than 38,000 military personnel and 15,000 civilians, making it one of the top five employers in Washington in recent years (ahead of Amazon and Microsoft, but behind Boeing).
Between 2015 and 2019, an average of about 4,105 active-duty military personnel lived in Thurston County. This is more than double the number of active-duty military personnel living in Thurston County in 2000.