Washington's average wage rose nearly 5 percent last year, beating inflation for the third year in a row, according to new data from the...

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Washington’s average wage rose nearly 5 percent last year, beating inflation for the third year in a row, according to new data from the state Employment Security Department.

Among the nearly 2.93 million jobs covered by the state’s unemployment-insurance program, the average wage last year was $45,023, compared with $42,888 in 2006.

The information sector, which includes software and other technology industries, had the highest average wage: $96,241 a year. Wages in the finance and insurance sector grew the fastest last year, 9.9 percent.

Jobs in accommodation and food services paid the least: $16,017 a year. Arts, entertainment and recreation jobs experienced the slowest wage growth last year: 1.8 percent.

King and Snohomish counties, which have a heavy concentration of jobs in the best-paying sectors, had the highest average annual wages of any county in the state: $56,217 and $45,448, respectively.