A study of the effects of Seattle’s effort to phase in a $15-an-hour minimum wage found that so far, with the minimum wage no higher than $13, low-wage earners have suffered an average loss of $125 a month due to decreased hours and staffing cuts.
Specifically, the 2014 bump in the minimum wage resulted in a 3 percent wage increase but was accompanied by a 9 percent reduction in hours worked, averaging out to $125 a month in losses.
“If you’re a low-skilled worker with one of those jobs, $125 a month is a sizable amount of money,” said Mark Long, a public-policy professor and one of the authors of the report. “It can be the difference between being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent.”
The report also estimated that there are about 5,000 fewer low-wage jobs in the city than there would have been without the law.
Published Monday through the National Bureau of Economic Research, the study was commissioned by the Seattle City Council and conducted by University of Washington researchers.
In the years covered by the study, 2015 and 2016, the minimum wage was at most $13 an hour, depending on business size, worker benefits and tips.
“This strikes me as a study that is likely to influence people,” David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research, told the Washington Post. He called the work “very credible” and “sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds.”