Wage growth in WA slows, but average remains over $80k

By: - June 28, 2023 4:55 pm

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The average annual wage for workers in Washington was $84,167 in 2022, up 2% from the previous year, according to the state Employment Security Department. 

That’s a lower growth rate than in previous years, likely due in part to cuts in the tech sector. Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Meta and Google all announced significant layoffs in the last year, affecting thousands of employees in the Puget Sound region.

The information industry, which includes a significant number of tech businesses, paid out less wages overall in 2022, the Employment Security Department said.

In 2021, the state’s average wage grew by 10.6% – the second-largest increase on record, according to the department. 

Another factor that could have led to slower growth is the number of workers hired compared to wage increases. More people getting jobs across the income spectrum could pull down average wage growth

Some industries did see significant gains. Wages in fields like administrative, support, waste management and remediation services grew by 8.8%. Accommodation and food services grew by 7.9%, and public administration by 5.1%. 

Washington’s average wage is higher than the national average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average U.S. worker makes around just under $70,000, though what’s used to calculate the national statistic could be slightly different than in Washington, as the state’s figures only include people covered by unemployment insurance.

The average annual wage also varies significantly by county in Washington. King County, for example, has an average annual wage slightly higher than the state average, at about $86,000, but Wahkiakum County has the lowest average at just over $31,000. 

Spokane County’s average sits just under $45,500 while Pierce County, where Tacoma is located, is just above $49,000.

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Laurel Demkovich
Laurel Demkovich

Laurel joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.