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Washington’s average annual wage grew to nearly $59,000 in 2016, state says

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The average annual wage in Washington state grew by 4.8 percent to $58,957 in 2016 — the largest percentage increase year over year since 2007, the state Employment Security Department announced Wednesday.

The average weekly wage rose from $1,082 in 2014 to $1,133 in 2016, the department said, adding that these figures include only those wages covered by unemployment insurance.

The department said 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 department said the average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $7 to $169 for new claims opened on or after July 3. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, which is the greater of $496 or 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $32 to $713, the department said.