Last year’s wage increase in Seattle may not have had the desired effect on workers’ income.
In 2015, Seattle increased its minimum wage to $11 per hour for large businesses. Since this wage increase, the city seems to be thriving, but the true results of the new wage are difficult to determine, as there are a number of other factors influencing the city’s economy.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, since the wage increase, low-wage workers are getting more hours and are making more money, more new businesses are opening, and fewer businesses are closing and the technology and construction sectors are booming. However, this economic upswing may not be the effect of the wage increase. In fact, research suggests that the minimum wage in the area would likely have increased without the wage hike, because Seattle’s overall economy is in an upswing.
In reality, the benefits of the wage hike on workers may have been more harmful than helpful, according to economists commissioned by the city. The Washington Post reported that the economists revealed that, although workers are earning more, the wage increased has actually harmed the employment rate, as fewer people have jobs than would have had it not been for the wage hike. Additionally, while workers are making more per hour, many are being given fewer hours; therefore, they are not earning much more than they would have otherwise. In fact, some data shows that employees may actually be earning as much as $5.22 less per week than they had been before the wage increase.