Seattle Shows the Way to Higher Pay

In LABOR -- articles only, States On

In Seattle, the minimum rose in 2015 from $9.47 an hour to either $10 or $11, depending mainly on the size of a business. In 2016 it rose to a range of $10.50 to $13. (The period studied covers 2015 and 2016.) In 2017, it hit $11 to $15. By 2021, all Seattle businesses will pay at least $15.

In attempting to assess the effects of the increase, the Seattle study excluded workers at businesses that also have locations outside the city, including chains and franchises like Starbucks and McDonald’s. The intent was to isolate the impact on Seattle employers, independent of outside business concerns. But the consequence was to overlook — and most likely underestimate — the experiences of employers who can best afford the raises. Similarly, the study blames the minimum wage increase for a decline in low-wage work in Seattle, when a likely cause is the city’s strong economy in which competition, not the minimum wage, bids up pay.

Seen in that light, it seems safe to conclude that Seattle has tolerated its minimum wage increase well and that, by extension, other strong economies could do so. It also suggests that a key to successful large increases is a gradual phase-in that gives businesses time to adjust and experts time to study the impacts as they unfold.

Read full editorial

You may also read!

The Secrets of ‘Cognitive Super-Agers’

One of my greatest pleasures during the Covid-19 shutdowns


Is Education No Longer the ‘Great Equalizer’?

There is an ongoing debate over what kind of


Even the terrorist threat to the United States is now partisan

Hours after he announced his objection to forming a


Mobile Sliding Menu