Military branches employ a significant number of Thurston County residents. The majority of these jobs occur at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The base employs 40,000 military personnel and more than 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 2013 and 2017, an average of about 4,058 active-duty military personnel lived in Thurston County. This is double the number of active-duty military personnel living in Thurston County in 2000.