Another UW study has turned up no evidence to back up that oft-repeated claim that businesses small and large can't survive higher minimum wages.
The study (PDF), provided this week to the City Council, examines Seattle's economy in the first eight months after it began phasing in higher wages in 2015, from $9.47 up to $11 per hour, on a track toward $15.
Here's the money quote:
We do not find compelling evidence that the minimum wage has caused significant increases in business failure rates. Moreover, if there has been any increase in business closings caused by the Minimum Wage Ordinance, it has been more than offset by an increase in business openings.
The City’s job growth rate tripled the national average... The City’s job growth rate outpaced its robust performance in recent years... Seattle’s low-wage workers who kept working were modestly better off as a result of the Minimum Wage Ordinance, having $13 more per week in earnings and working 15 minutes less per week.
The overall employment rate of low wage workers went down one percentage point:
The minimum wage appears to have slightly reduced the employment rate of low-wage workers by about one percentage point. It appears that the Minimum Wage Ordinance modestly held back Seattle’s employment of low-wage workers relative to the level we could have expected.
Civic Skunk Works' Paul Constant has an in-depth breakdown of the study over here. As Paul says, "The goal of an economy is not to hit the lowest numbers possible; in fact, Seattle already is enjoying record unemployment. The goal of an economy is to improve outcomes for everyone... This UW report proves that raising the minimum wage is good for everyone — businesses and workers."
Some of us have been saying this all along.
A companion study found in April that increased wages in Seattle didn't lead to higher prices.
This post has been been updated. The study covered the phase-in of the wage hike during 2015, not 2014.