Two studies show there is no denying that most $15 minimum wage workers in Seattle are making more money, but a new University of Washington report shows more costs than benefits.
Another study from the University of California Berkeley says the law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without losing jobs, but it did not examine other industries. Also, an investigation by the Albany Times-Union last year raised questions about its “predictively positive” studies.
UW study shows number of jobs shrinking
A new report – commissioned by the city and conducted by University of Washington economists – out Monday morning shows minimum wage workers in Seattle may be making more money, but the number of jobs available are shrinking.
Researchers at the University of Washington said because of the 2014 law gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15, employers have done everything from cutting jobs to slashing hours.
The report shows a jump from $11 to $13 an hour last year hit many employers hard, and as a result of cutbacks, lower-paid workers on average lost about $125 per month.
According to the study, if the minimum wage law didn’t exist, there would 5,000 more lower-paying jobs available right now.
UC Berkeley study shows minimum wage hasn’t cut jobs
A report from the University of California Berkeley claims the $15 wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs.
The report focused on food service jobs, which some critics said could be disproportionately affected if increased wages forced restaurants to cut workers' hours.
Author Michael Reich says that hasn't been the case.
"Our results show that wages in food services did increase — indicating the policy achieved its goal," the study said.
Forbes reported that in an expose published last year, the Albany Times-Union used emails to explore the motivations of the Berkeley team – and those emails were predictably positive about increased minimum wages.
The Times-Union found that the emails were “demonstrating a deep level of coordination between academics and advocates.” The expose highlighted that not one negative impact was found among Berkeley’s six positive studies on the minimum wage.
About Seattle’s minimum wage
In 2014, Seattle became one of the first cities to adopt a law aiming for a $15 minimum wage. San Francisco changed its wage around the same time.
Seattle's law gave small businesses employing fewer than 500 people seven years to phase it in. Large employers had to do so over three or four years, depending on whether they offer health insurance to their employees.
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