Seattle’s groundbreaking minimum wage law is raising pay for low-paid workers without hurting jobs, according to a new reportreleased today by University of California, Berkeley economists. The report, which analyzes employment data before and after the law went into effect, finds no evidence of job loss in the city’s restaurant industry, even as pay reached $13 for workers in large companies.
“Seattle’s minimum wage law is working as intended, raising pay for low-wage workers, without negatively affecting jobs,” said Professor Michael Reich, lead author of the report. “These findings are consistent with the lion’s share of rigorous academic minimum wage research studies.”
Seattle was one of the first municipalities in the U.S. to enact a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. The minimum wage increased to $10 or $11, depending on business size on April 1, 2015. A second round of increases, including a $13 minimum for some large businesses, took effect on January 1, 2016. In 2017, minimum wage rates for workers in Seattle range between $11 an hour and $15 an hour. The full $15 minimum wage will be phased in for all workers in the city by 2021