Nicole Rice

Study raises questions about minimum wage increase

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, July 7, 2017 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A study released last week by the University of Washington analyzing the minimum wage increase in Seattle has found that jobs and work hours fell for the city’s lowest paid employees after the rise to $13 an hour last year. The study shows that jobs and hours for those workers declined faster in Seattle than in surrounding control areas where the minimum wage did not increase. Some economists see this as a possible sign that laws such as those passed in California and New York that will ultimately increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour could hurt workers at the lowest end of the wage spectrum – the very employees that the increase was designed to protect. 

While the study in no way proves that what has happened in Seattle will occur in other areas, a UCLA economist warns that Los Angeles should be alarmed; in a city such as Los Angeles where you have a greater population of minority, low-pay, low-skill workers, the unintended consequences could be even greater.

Ironically, on the heels of this report, ten California localities experienced a scheduled increase in their minimum wage amounts on July 1. Those areas are:

Emeryville:

  • $15.20 per hour (56 or more employees)
  • $14.00 per hour (55 or fewer employees)

 

Los Angeles (City):

  • $12.00 per hour (26 or more employees)
  • $10.50 per hour (25 or fewer employees)

Los Angeles (unincorporated areas of County):

  • $12.00 per hour (26 or more employees)
  • $10.50 per hour (25 or fewer employees)

Malibu:

  • $12.00 per hour (26 or more employees)
  • $10.50 per hour (25 or fewer employees)

Milpitas:

  • $11.00 per hour

Pasadena:

  • $12.00 per hour (26 or more employees)
  • $10.50 per hour (25 or fewer employees)

San Francisco:

  • $14.00 per hour

San Jose:

  • $12.00 per hour

San Leandro:

  • $12.00 per hour

Santa Monica:

  • $12.00 per hour (26 or more employees)
  • $10.50 per hour (25 or fewer employees)
  • $15.66 (for hotels)

For more information on the University of Washington study, please click here.

You can read a good write-up from Joel Fox on California minimum wage and the UW study here

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