The State Employment Security Department reported this month that the average annual wage in Washington in 2015 grew by 2.6 percent to $56,273.
The average weekly wage rose from $1,054 in 2014 to $1,082 in 2015, with figures compiled from wages of workers in jobs that are covered by unemployment insurance.
Much of the increase was driven by a 5.9 percent increase in total earnings, which grew by nearly $9.5 billion in 2015, the department stated in a release.
Overall, the number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by 94,629 in 2015. The industries with the largest average wage growth in 2015 were construction, up 5.9 percent; management of companies and enterprises, up 5.7 percent; and retail trade, up 5.2 percent.
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The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers, the department reported. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $4 to $162 for claims opened on or after July 3. The maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $17 to $681.
About 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are currently paid the maximum benefit amount, and 10 percent receive the minimum.
In addition to unemployment benefits and worker’s compensation benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2017, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $45,000 paid to each employee — up from $44,000 in 2016.
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535