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The Edge of Labor

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Seattle Wages is a War on Minimum Pay Labor

July 19th 2017

Money Stack

Seattle has the highest minimum hourly wage in the nation. The raise was phased-in.  In 2015, it jumped to $11 an hour.  It didn’t move people off welfare, as promised.  The welfare rolls were virtually unchanged.

The city lost 1,000 restaurant jobs in the month following the pay hike. It lost 1,300 jobs in January through June. In contrast, 2800 restaurant jobs were created outside of Seattle. Nationally, more than 130,000 restaurant jobs were created during the same period.  Obviously, the wage hike forced Seattle employers to slash positions.

University of Washington economists have delivered even more grim news.  They studied the effect of last year’s hike to 13-dollars an hour.  Their  study was funded, in part, by the city of Seattle.

The bump to 13-dollars resulted in nearly a nine-and-a-half percent reduction of hours worked.  And a loss of more than 5,000 jobs.  Net wages for lower-income workers were reduced by 1500-dollars a year.  This is a huge chunk of change for people living paycheck-to-paycheck.

The economists point-out that earlier studies cherry-picked data.  Those studies focused on only one sector of the employment market. The Washington researchers examined the entire workforce. This year’s increase to 15-dollars has not yet been analyzed.


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