Checking in: Seattle minimum wage hike one year later

Amid much pageantry, on June 1, 2014, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed into law the Minimum Wage Ordinance, which set schedules for dramatic minimum-wage increases for the lowest-paid workers in the city designed to go into effect on April 1, 2015.

Although the new ordinance was met with endless rounds of applause from progressive groups and labor unions, almost immediately there began a movement among progressives to scrap the original plan of a seven-year schedule and reduce the incremental wage increases to three years.

Unfortunately for Seattle’s minimum-wage earners, only job losses have outpaced the wage increase and overblown civic activity on the hike. Seattle has witnessed a measurable reversal to its lead-footed job recovery, earning the city the dubious distinction as having the worst job losses since the Great Recession.

In creating a lane for the lowest-paid, minimum-wage workers to become the highest paid in the country, startling data complied over the course of the last year reveals Seattle’s jobless rate between June and December 2015 rose to over one percent; the number of unemployed increased by over 4,500; and Seattle’s unemployment has fallen to 11,000.

Carefully traced by one economic think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, and Forbes, data assembled between January and June 2015 revealed the hardest hit was the restaurant industry which suffered over 1,300 job losses.

Most troubling, notwithstanding these crestfallen revelations, Seattle is preparing for the next round of wage increases.


Few, if any, welcome the maxim “we told you so,” but we told you so.

As Seattle approaches the one-year mark of this well-intentioned but disastrous method to raise wages, the city council, which passed the measure unanimously, is presented with demonstrable verification of its baleful effects on those to whom it was created to boost.

Despite overpowering historical evidence to the contrary, a minimum-wage increase does not aid the right people because it targets non-heads of households; it causes job loss among the low-skilled workers; and it is typically accompanied by an across-the-spectrum increase in wages, particularly among unionized workers.

It required the sleuthing of the American Enterprise Institute and Forbes to disclose what has become of one year of a massive increase in the minimum wage in Seattle. Imagine how Seattle’s economic landscape will appear when Mayor Murray’s timetable is complete.


[Forbes] [] [] [] [Photo courtesy]


  1. EveningStarNM

    Calling the American Enterprise Institute an “economic think tank” is like calling Fox News “fair and balanced”. Since Seattle has a host of problems, blaming the minimum wage for the job losses (which have occurred primarily in higher-wage sectors) is incomplete, at best, and more likely reflects the author’s bias. Furthermore, the timing of changes in unemployement do not coincide with changes in the minimum wage., expecially since unemployment fell dramatically in 2015 after a brief increase in the last half of 2014. The author’s propaganda is debunked.

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