Whatcom County is home to a diversity of industry and employment opportunities. Almost 7,000 firms provide over 85,700 jobs. Medical services and higher education are the leading employers in the county. Major private industry firms, including petroleum refining, corporate retail trade offices, aluminum smelting, aircraft interiors, power supply systems and software, provide a stable economic base. The county has a strong supply-chain. Local businesses are accustomed to working together. Employers can draw on a regional labor force exceeding 200,000 in the four county area. Well over half the workforce is within a 30 mile radius from Bellingham. Commuting time and distance is a plus in Whatcom County compared to major urban areas.