Minimum Wage and Seattle Unemployment

The early results are in: workers are dropping out of the labor force, unemployment is increasing and employment is decreasing. 

In 2014, Seattle passed an increase to the minimum wage, increasing hourly earnings to $15 per hour. As the plan has been phased in, April 2015 marked the first increase: employers with 500 or more employees must increase their minimum wage to $13 per hour while smaller companies without benefits must pay $12 per hour.

What does this mean for unemployment and hiring in Seattle? For starters, employment in Seattle has decreased by nearly 3% while the remainder of the state has seen an increase by 2.7%. 

Since April 2015, the unemployment rate has actually increased 1.2% in Seattle and the city's labor force has decreased 1.5% (in the rest of the state, the labor force grew 1.8%).

Time will tell what the increase in minimum wage brings to Seattle, but these early numbers are interesting, nonetheless.