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Competitiveness Redbook 2016


When it comes to doing business, how does Washington compare with other states? It’s an important question, and the 2015 Competitiveness Redbook has the detailed data to help provide answers.

In some ways, Washington is one of the strongest economies in the country. Employment growth, especially in the Puget Sound region, has been strong coming out of the recession. The state added 62,800 non-farm jobs in the past year, which is eighth-best in America. Washington ranks 13th for personal income and fifth-best for venture capital investment – with VC breaking the $1 billion mark last year for the first time.

One of the state’s greatest strengths continues to be its environmentally friendly, low-cost hydroelectric power. Washington’s industrial and residential customers have the lowest electricity rates in the nation, and commercial customers have the fifth-lowest rates.

On the other hand, Washington is a costly place to do business. The state’s business taxes are ninth-highest in the nation as a share of all taxes and gross state product. Employers here pay 54 percent of all taxes, which is ninth highest in the country.

Washington’s minimum wage remains the highest in America, and workers’ compensation payouts per worker are also the highest in the nation – with employers and employees paying the high costs for those benefits.

The Redbook also details educational status, manufacturing wages, population changes and much more.

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