Employment Security Department (ESD) announces average wage increase to $76,741 in 2020

Jun 17, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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According to a recent press release Washington’s average annual wage grew by 10.1% in 2020 to $76,741, according to the state Employment Security Department (ESD) —representing the largest percentage increase in the average annual wage year over year on record.

The increase was driven by a 4.9% decrease in covered employment and a 4.7% increase in total earnings, which grew by nearly $10.9 billion in 2020. Overall, the average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance decreased by just over 164,161 workers in 2020.

The industries with the largest average wage growth in 2020 were in Information, up 16.9%; Retail trade, up 14.6%; and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector, up 14.3%.

The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers and Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits. In addition to unemployment and Paid Leave benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2022, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $62,500 paid to each employee—up from $56,500 in 2021.

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