Wages on average rose 5 percent in Washington last year. The average weekly wage was $860 in 2007, up from $818 in 2006, the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.
By comparison, wages increased 5.4 percent between 2005 and 2006.
The higher wage is used to compute unemployment-insurance benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase to $129 starting July 1. The maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase to $541.
Laid-off workers’ actual benefits are based on their past earnings.
Average annual wage also is used to compute employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $35,700 paid to each employee, up from $34,000 in 2008.