Washington’s average annual wage increased by 2 percent last year

According to the Employment Security Department, the average annual wage in Washington was $52,635 in 2013, an increase of 2 percent over 2012.

Much of the increase was driven by a 6.5 percent increase in the number of insured workers earning more than $75,000. . . . The three industries with the highest wage growth in 2013 were the company management sector, up 11.7 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation, up 11.1 percent; and retail trade, up 8.7 percent.

Workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits are calculated based on the average annual wage, and it is also used to calculate unemployment taxes for employers. According to ESD,

The minimum weekly unemployment benefit . . . will increase by $3 to $151, for new claims opened on or after July 6. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $13, to $637. . . .

Beginning in 2015, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $42,100 paid to each employee, up from $41,300 in 2014.

In 2013, Washington’s average weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount was $374.19 (6th highest in the country). Washington’s taxable wage base has consistently been one of the highest in the country. The base of $41,300 in 2014 was the nation’s highest.