by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Experienced workers in Seattle had their hours cut but were able to find work outside the city to offset their lost wages, less experienced workers had no gains, and those out of work were less likely to enter the workforce.
Those are the key findings of the latest look at minimum wage increases in Seattle. So much for a higher mandated minimum wage as a way to expand opportunity or mobility from poverty. As the unemployment rate has fallen, employers have opened their standards for employment, raised wages, and expanded benefits. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and state government have proven willing and able to increase pay. Such examples can prompt others to reconsider what is possible, but forcing small companies or local managers to pay more than they can afford does not help employers, workers, or those out of work.