Washington's unemployment insurance tax rate will increase to an average 3.26 percent next year because jobless workers received a record $2 billion in benefits, the Employment Security Department said today.
The unemployment trust fund collected only $1.2 billion during the year, but retained a $2.5 billion balance in the trust fund as of Nov. 30, the department said.
The 2011 rate will be the highest since 1988. The 2009 rate was the lowest in 40 years, but increased to an average 2.39 percent this year as unemployment rates climbed to near double-digit levels.
The state's 170,000 employers will pay rates ranging from 1.33 percent to six percent on the first $37,000 in worker earnings. Employers delinquent on past payments, or too new to have established a claims history will pay as much as 8.64 percent.