In 2014, the average annual wage in Washington state increased, and that uptick will bring a rise in unemployment benefits and taxes, both of which are based on workers’ average yearly pay.

The state’s average annual wage increased 4.2 percent to $54,829, according to the Washington Employment Security Department. The average weekly wage – calculated using only pay covered by unemployment insurance  – in the state also increased to $1,054 from $1,012 in 2013. The jump represents the largest for the state since 2007.

“Employers will pay taxes on the first $44,000 paid to each employee.”

Benefits are calculated as a percentage of employees’ average wages. With the 4.2 percent jump in wages, unemployment benefits can also be expected to rise.

Annual wage increase raises weekly benefits thresholds
Currently, in Washington state the maximum weekly benefit is $637, while the minimum weekly allowance is $151. No one may be given less than the latter, regardless of his or her prior income. The minimum amount is 15 percent of the average weekly wage, while the maximum amount is 63 percent.

On July 5, 2015, due to the rising average wage in Washington state, new minimum and maximum weekly benefits will come into effect, with the former set to be $158 and the latter $664. Right now, about 12 percent of unemployment insurance claimants in Washington are allowed maximum benefit, while 8 percent receive the minimum.

Total earnings increased 6.4 percent to $161.5 trillion. Wages increased most in the information sector, arts, entertainment and recreation and retail trade. The total number of workers in Washington state covered by unemployment insurance also grew by 62,942 to more than 2.9 million in 2014.

Unemployment taxes will also increase with annual wage jump
The average annual wage is also used by the Employment Security Department to determine how much businesses will pay in unemployment tax. Starting in 2016, employers will pay taxes on the first $44,000 paid to each employee, up from $42,100 in 2015.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


Contact CCC to see how we can save your organization time and money.
Contact our Sales Team
(800) 207-6926

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