Sleepless Over Seattle

Via:  bob-nelson  •  4 years ago  •  10 comments

Sleepless Over Seattle

Seattle'sminimum wagewill rise to $11 an hour on April 1, then to $15, and economists are watching. How will Seattle fare? Will businesses close and low-skill workers lose their jobs, or will business carry on and those workers get big raises?

These are questions that, in the tradition of the best research on the minimum wage, should be answered with lots of data and careful analysis. It's too bad, then, thatsomeeconomicsbloggersseem to have already made up their minds -- without, as best as I can tell, any data at all.

We need some better ideas than re-litigating anecdotal accounts in magazines and credulously quoting a think-tank report.Past researchon the minimum wage has showed us that the effects are mostly felt in the food-service industry. As I suggested inSunday's links, we should be watchingfood-service employment in the Seattle metro area. It's not a perfect measure, as the metro area goes beyond Seattle city limits, but it gets close. Another issue is the data only go up to December 2014.

For whatever it's worth, then, there's been no sign of a minimum-wage hit to employment:


Others have suggested using data fromCounty and Zip-Code Business Patterns, which is annual and industry-level. So we'll have to wait on that one.

Let's try another idea. When businesses open and close, they have to get licenses. Seattle has data on restaurant licenses, and it has the advantage of matching the city limits. And it turns out that theypost this dataonline -- in particular, they post counts of the number of licensed businesses for the most common industry codes, which include several types of food-service businesses. I was able to use theInternet Archiveto pull up this list for several earlier dates.

With those resources, I put together the table below. It includes all of the listed categories in 722,the NAICS code for food services and drinking places, except for caterers. (I left caterers out as I don't think they're what we really care about here.)This table gets right to the supposed wave of restaurant closures in Seattle -- and I don't see anything yet.

There's been a slow decline in limited-service restaurants (read: fast food), and a gradual uptrend in full-service restaurants. The total number of food-services businesses rose over the last year.

Here's the bottom line: The current data don't show declines in food-service employment or in food-service establishments in Seattle. Maybe they will in the future, or maybe they won't. I will be watching both measures and will keep you posted.

Sleepless Over Seattle, by Evan Soltas,economics & thought


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Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago

The advantage of a higher minimum wage is obvious: getting more money into the pockets of low income working people. This should be a no-brainer, getting support from everyone. Progressives like it because its good for the working class. Conservatives should like it because it raises the incentive for all those lazy welfare queens to get a job.

But no... Conservatives are so averse to legislating help for the poor -- even the working poor -- that they find arguments to explain why low wages are necessary... They had no data, but they had a theoretical argument.

Now the data is coming in... and it does not fit the conservatives' argument.

So of course they are now in favor of raising the minimum wage, right??

Ha - ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha- ha - ha.............

link   Kavika     4 years ago

I am in favor of raising the MW. Before I retired, our corporation MW was $10 per hour with full benefits. This was in the early to mid 2000's.

The advantage to our corporation was a much lower ''turn over'' rate, than many of our competitors. The dollars savings in lowering our turn over rate, far exceeded the few dollars difference between the existing MW and what we paid.

Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago

A lot of people do dislike "the poor" in some of the same ways they dislike everyone they see as beneath them in some way.

The rich are under a psychological obligation to see the poor as being of a different "nature". If the rich accepted that the poor are the same kind of people as themselves, then their crass greed and cruelty might just bother their consciences a bit.

By defining the poor as a different species, it is okay to treat them as one might treat any lower animal.

Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago


Nowhere Man
link   Nowhere Man    4 years ago


The current data don't show declines in food-service employment or in food-service establishments in Seattle.

Alright dingbat, it doesn't show cause it hasn't happened yet. I live out here in Washington just a few miles south of Seattle.

It hasn't really taken effect yet and your declaring it a success? Typical.

It was just decided for many of the franchisees out here, (McDonald's, Arby's, Burger King's etc) that because they have the big corporate name on the outside of the building, they are subject to the corporate big business rules that companies like Boeing will be subject to.

Most of them are small mom and pop franchises, not owned by the corporate conglomerate.

We are still waiting for this to start kicking in here. Nothing has actually happened yet.

So to jump up and claim it is a success at this point is merely predicting the future with no raw data to prove anything.

But nice try.

Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago

Alright dingbat, it doesn't show cause it hasn't happened yet.

That's almost correct, wingnut.

It doesn't show cause it hasn't happened.

Nor is there any data-based reason to believe that it ever will.

But nice try.

Nowhere Man
link   Nowhere Man    4 years ago

As typical, spin it.

The LAW hasn't FULLY TAKEN EFFECT YET! (no one is actually being forced to 15.00 per hour yet)

Which means that predicting it's success is premature, and his data is based upon falsities.

Despite your spin.

Just to clarify that this isn't any factual recounting of the policy and it's effect. It's just wishing and dreaming.

Since you missed the point.

Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago

So none of those restaurant owners have run the numbers? None have decided to get out ahead of the rush? They're waiting to see how it goes?


Or have they run the numbers and decided that it's no big deal?

I thought business leaders "anticipated"...

Nowhere Man
link   Nowhere Man    4 years ago

You don't live here so your pretty much clueless to what is actually happening.

From my point of view, I'll leave you that way.

Bob Nelson
link   seeder  Bob Nelson    4 years ago

What? You're not going to Reply to me any more??

Oh, dear... What a terrible loss...



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