Washington wages rank 10th in nation

Washington workers earned an average of $823 per week in third quarter of 2006, ranking 10th among all states, according to new figures from the Employment Security Department. The national average weekly wage was $784.

“Washington boasts one of the strongest job markets in the country and is competing relatively well for wages with some of the largest states in the nation,” said Karen Lee, commissioner for the Employment Security Department. “Moving forward, we must continue to invest in our work force so Washington businesses will prosper and create opportunities for workers to move into better jobs.”

The states with higher weekly wages than Washington were the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Delaware and Illinois.

Eight of Washington’s 24 industry sectors posted average weekly wages in excess of $1,000 per week in the third quarter (July through September) of 2006. The sectors included information, management of companies and enterprises, utilities, finance and insurance, professional and technical services, wholesale trade, mining and manufacturing.

The highest-paying sector was information, averaging $2,299 per week. The industry sector with the lowest average wage was accommodation and food services, at $302 per week.

Within the state, King County offered the highest average wage, $1,043 per week, followed by Benton and Snohomish counties, with $808 and $799 per week, respectively. Okanogan County offered the lowest average wage, at $425 per week.

Employers that want to know if they are paying a competitive wage for their area and industry should contact their nearest WorkSource office or visit http://www.go2worksource.com .

“Business managers need to know if they’re setting their employees wages at the right level,” said Lee. “WorkSource can arm employers with the most current wage data to stay competitive and retain qualified workers.”

WorkSource is a partnership of business, government agencies, colleges and non-profit organizations that offer employment and training services for job seekers and businesses.
In 2006, the WorkSource system assisted nearly 24,000 businesses and helped place more than 330,000 people in jobs.

Individuals can download the full report on Washington wage growth at http://www.workforceexplorer .