Seattles minimum wage law took effect in 2015 and will reach $15 for everyone by 2021.
Seattle's minimum wage law took effect in 2015 and will reach $15 for everyone by 2021. David Ryder/Getty

Another day, another report debunking bullshit claims that raising the minimum wage will destroy the economy.

A study released today from economists at the University of California, Berkeley found that Seattle's landmark minimum wage increase has not cost jobs.

Seattle's minimum wage currently ranges from $11 to $15 an hour, depending on the size of the business and the benefits it offers.

To complete the study, researchers looked at employment data from before and after the law took effect in 2015. They focused on jobs in the food service industry due to a high concentration of minimum wage positions. The thinking went: if there were job losses, they would happen in restaurants.

Their finding comes with an important note, given the context of the debate over the minimum wage. Franchise owners are often at the center of that debate, claiming they'll suffer from increased wages or regulations. The researchers write that they found no job losses due to the minimum wage, "even among the limited-service restaurants, many of them franchisees, for whom the policy was most binding."

“Seattle’s minimum wage law is working as intended," said Michael Reich, the lead author of the report, in a statement, "raising pay for low-wage workers, without negatively affecting jobs."

To complete the study, researchers compared seven years worth of data from Seattle to a "synthetic Seattle" constructed using data from other comparable cities. (The use of a "synthetic Seattle" was a point of contention in a recent University of Washington study about wages. Paul Constant explains the difference between the two synthetic models here.)

Their findings do include one caveat: "Of course, unobserved factors, such as Seattle’s hot labor market compared to that in Synthetic Seattle...may have positively affected Seattle’s low-wage employment during this period."

Researchers say they'll keep monitoring that question as Seattle gradually moves toward $15 for all workers by 2021. Next, they'll look at minimum wage increases in Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and New York City. Read the full Seattle study here.