One year after the city of Seatac raised its minimum wage to $15, and after massive outbursts by business leaders of its destructive consequences, K5 News of Seattle reported that the wage increase had not decreased jobs, and in many cases, many businesses have and are expanding.
For example, managers of Cedar Brook Lodge in Seatac threatened to cut jobs if the minimum wage was enacted, but since then, they have expanded their facilities by 63 rooms and increased hiring. Managers at WallyPark, a parking structure, say they’re doing very well. The city manager of Seatac says there are “no noticeable impact on spending or business license applications.”
Most governments phase in minimum wage increases, such as the Seattle city council and the Oregon legislature. Seattle signed into law an increase to $15 an hours in June 2014. Oregon just recently increased its minimum wage to a phased in over six years $14.75 per hour.
The Seatac increase, however, had no incremental phase in period for the minimum wage. It was $15 an hour and charge!
As Seattle’s new minimum wage began to take effect last year, four restaurants closed. Conservative and libertarian news media and think tanks bragged that this was due to the increase in the minimum wage, and they did so without uncovering any facts.
It turns out the claim was false. One restaurant owner said they were simply moving his business to another section of Seattle. Another owner said she was closing one restaurant because she intended to open two others in Seattle. A third owner said the minimum wage increase had nothing to do with closing her business. The fourth owner said the same thing. In the meantime, new restaurants opened in all four locations.
As for who the minimum wage increase actually impacts?
A valet attendant and shuttle driver at a parking company called MasterPark, Sammi Babakrkhil saw his base wage jump from $9.55 per hour, before tips, up to $15. Having scraped by in America since immigrating from Afghanistan 11 years ago, he suddenly faced the pleasant predicament as his co-workers: What to do with the windfall?
For the overworked father of three, it wasn’t a hard question what he would do with an increase in wages. Babakrkhil decided to quit his other full-time job driving shuttles at a hotel down the road. Though he’d take home less money overall, the pay hike at MasterPark would allow him to work 40 hours a week instead of a brutal 80 — and to actually spend time with his wife and three young girls.
“My kids used to not see me,” said Babakrkhil, who notes that the new work arrangement has also afforded him time to start exercising. “Now I make a little bit less, but I’m enjoying my life … I’m happy this way.”
Wait a minute! Sammi quit a job, which means a job opened up due to the minimum wage. That increased employment.