Seattle’s fight for a $15/hour minimum wage has wound up costing jobs in the city and the only people not surprised are conservatives who saw this coming a mile away.
A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research released this month describes the effects so far:
This paper evaluates the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, which raised the minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 per hour in 2015 and to $13 per hour in 2016. Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.
That means employers paid their employees more each hour but cut their hours at the same time, sending them away with $125 less each month. So, fighting for $15 sounds good on picket signs, but is a terrible idea when forced on a metropolis.
The researchers from the University of Washington wrote, “[T]here is good reason to believe that increasing the minimum wage above some level is likely to cause greater employment losses than increases at lower levels.”
Of course liberal minds, like the openly socialist Seattle city council woman Kshama Sawant who is the voice behind this movement, are not swayed by such a study. They will carry on as planned. But imagine this: If lower wage workers are losing over $100 per month even though their wages slowly inch closer to $15, imagine the losses when people like Sawant jump on their next campaign bandwagon for $20 per hour — or $30 hour. When is enough, enough? The leftist answer to that is, never. Consequences be damned.