2023 Competitiveness REDBOOK Key Indicators of Washington's Business Climate
The 2023 Competitiveness Redbook is produced by the Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy, a nonprofit research institute focused on improving the state’s economy and business climate.
The 2023 Redbook is published with support from the following organizations:
- Association of Washington Business
- Washington Association of REALTORS®
- Washington Research Council
- Washington Roundtable
To order additional copies of the 2023 Redbook, contact AWB at 360.943.1600 or visit AWB.org.
The 2023 Competitiveness Redbook is a data-driven snapshot of Washington’s economic health, comparing the state to the rest of the nation in a variety of key indicators.
Coming out of the pandemic, Washington saw strong employment growth (Table 4) with more than 145,000 new jobs added during the previous year. The state ranked 10th in the nation in overall employment growth and
Other bright spots include high-tech employment and wages (Table 19) where Washington moved from second to first in net employment and retained its position as first in median wage. Low-cost power (Tables 42, 43 and 44) generally remains a competitive advantage as well, although not as much for commercial customers (13th lowest in the nation) as for industrial customers (third lowest, up one position from the previous year) and residential (lowest cost in the nation).
Housing has emerged as a major issue for the state, and Table 55 shows that Washington’s housing prices have appreciated at 6.3% annualized over 25 years – the second highest rate in the nation.
Washington continues to be a high-cost state for employers in a variety of categories. The state leads the country with the highest minimum wage (Table 27), the highest workers’ compensation benefits paid (Table 26) and second-highest average weekly regular unemployment benefits paid (Table 25). And Washington employers continue to pay nearly half of all state and local taxes (Table 11), although the percentage declined from 49.1% to 48.4%, moving the state from 14th to 16th in the nation.
Overall, the 2023 Redbook offers a snapshot of Washington’s relative economic strength as the state emerged from the pandemic, but many economic challenges remain including rising inflation, continuing labor shortages and concerns about a possible recession.
We encourage readers to use this book as a resource to help guide and champion Washington’s economy, and to strengthen all people, industry sectors and communities.