Washington’s average annual wage grew by 4.8 percent in 2016 to $58,957, representing the largest percentage increase year over year since 2007.
The average weekly wage rose from $1,082 in 2014 to $1,133 in 2016, according to the state Employment Security Department These figures include only those wages covered by unemployment insurance.
Much of the increase was driven by a 7.3 percent increase in total earnings, which grew by nearly $12.5 billion in 2016. Overall, the average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by just over 74,000 in 2016.
The industries with the largest average wage growth in 2016 were retail trade, up 19.9 percent; information, up 5.8 percent; and real estate, rental and leasing, up 5.2 percent.
The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers and in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2018, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $47,300 paid to each employee — up from $45,000 in 2017. The state average wage also is used by the Department of Labor & Industries in calculating worker’s compensation benefits.