Puget Sound Sage has just released their full report on equity and economic outcomes of a $15/hr minimum wage in Seattle. Please distribute far and wide! Here is a summary of the key findings:
A $15 minimum wage will have a wide and positive impact on our local economy.
– We estimate that 102,000 employees in Seattle make less than $15 an hour.
– Workers covered by a minimum wage could see an average increase of $3.05 an hour. This
represents a 26% actual increase above their average wage of $11.95.
– The additional earnings would result in a $526 million stimulus to low-wage worker households
in Seattle and the region.
– The $526 million dollar wage increase represents a marginal change of only 2% in the total
payroll of affected industries. Employers in certain industries, such as food and
accommodations, would see a higher rate of increase (6%).
– Low-income households are likely to spend more of their paychecks, increasing demand for
goods and service. Households with incomes between $30,000 and $39,999 spend all of their
pre-tax income. In contrast – households with incomes over $70,000 spend only 63% of their
A minimum wage increase will greatly benefit women and people of color working in Seattle.
– Women and people of color living in Seattle earn between 44% and 71% of what white men
earn in Seattle, respectively.
– The over-representation of women and people of color in low-wage industries explains much of
the gender and race pay gap. For example, in the food service industry nearly 63% of workers
earn below $15 an hour. People of color comprise 45% of those low-wage workers, despite
making up 30% of Seattle’s total workforce.
Evidence from other cities with higher minimum wages indicates that a simple minimum wage
increase makes good policy.
– Two independent studies of San Francisco and Santa Fe found no discernible effect on
employment after implementation of their minimum wage laws.
– San Jose increased the minimum wage by $2.00 in 2013. Just one year later, registered
businesses in San Jose have increased by 3%. Registration of small retailers increased by 19%.
– Unemployment in San Jose decreased by one percent since the wage hike went into effect, and
in the sector most influenced by the wage increase, restaurants and hospitality, more than
4,000 jobs were created.