SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington state’s average annual wage topped $65,000 in 2018, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The average annual wage grew by 5.5 percent in 2018 to $65,301, representing the largest percentage increase year over year since 2006.

According to the report, the average weekly wage rose from $1,190 in 2017 to $1,255 in 2018. The figures include wages covered by unemployment insurance.

ESD officials said most of the increase was driven by an 8 percent increase in total earnings, which grew by about $15.8 billion in 2018. The average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by 75,840 in 2018.

The largest average wage growth in 2018 was in retail trade, up 16.9 percent. The information industry grew by 13.1 percent and professional, scientific, and technical services were up 9.7 percent.

About 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount and 10 percent receive the minimum, according to the ESD.

ESD official said the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. In 2020, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $52,700 paid to each employee, which is up from $49,800 in 2019.

The average wage also is used by the Department of Labor & Industries in calculating workers compensation benefits and Employment Security’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program in calculating benefits starting in January 2020.

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