Washington’s average wage nears $59,000

Annual wage grew by 4.8 percent in 2016 to $58,957.

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. 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.

Currently, about 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount, and 10 percent receive the minimum.

In addition to unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used 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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

A cloudy day at Renton Municipal Airport. Photo by Haley Ausbun
Renton considers legal avenues for airport plan

The city is looking at how it can combat the FAA’s masterplan requirements

Courtesy of City of Renton. Site area for the Park Avenue North extension, a project from the city and SECO development that creates a second access point for Southport.
SECO expands its reach

Two new land acquisitions will expand Southport

Courtesy of Renton Chamber of Commerce Website. Diane Dobson appointed by board as new Renton Chamber CEO and President.
Dobson is the official Chamber of Commerce President

Long-time member is excited about the opportunity

AIM Aerospace changes name, ownership

The Renton business hopes recent acquisition will bring stability

Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted as CEO of Boeing Dec. 23, in a September video from the company where he shared safety improvements.
Boeing CEO is out

After recently announcing the temporary shutdown of the Renton Boeing plant, Dennis Muilenburg is replaced by board of directors.

Boeing Renton plant to halt 737 Max production

Suspension expected to begin in January

New gym gains national attention

Photo by Kevin Pieczynski-Jones At the new Renton business Benavidez Sports Training,… Continue reading

Business alliance serves women of African diaspora in South King County

Nourah Yonous launched the African Women Business Alliance in 2017 to find ways to lift women up.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Wyman and Vicky Dobson, as Wyman Dobson receives a certificate and medal for being a founder of the Nishiwaki-Renton sister cities. Wyman recently retired and sold his family building, where he had been an attorney for 59 years.
Dobson shuts his doors, leaves behind a nearly 60-year legacy

Long-time local lawyer, leader chooses to retire

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

Fake website attempts to lure Renton businesses

A fake business claiming to be a part of the Renton Reporter’s… Continue reading

Republic Services sanitation workers on strike in Massachusetts. COURTESY PHOTO
No garbage, recycling service in Renton Friday | Update

Pickets set up to support sanitation workers on strike in Massachusetts