Seattle’s Minimum Wage Cost City 1,000 Restaurant Jobs in One Month

What was it that we kept saying would happen if we were to enact a high minimum wage? Prices would necessarily rise, business would go down as a result, and people would lose their jobs.

We can look at Seattle as sort of a test case of what happens when the government decides that private businesses have to pay a certain amount to their employees. When the government gets involved in wage controls, bad things happen. And it was all predictable.

In June of last year, the city of Seattle decided to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, gradually over the course of a few years. The first increase came in January of this year at $9.47 an hour. In April, the minimum wage shot up to $11 an hour.

From January to June, the city lost about 1,300 restaurant jobs. In June alone, right after April’s $11-an-hour minimum wage took effect, the city lost 1,000 restaurant jobs. That was the highest one-month job loss since the Great Recession in 2009.

restaurant jobs in seattle

Is it just a coincidence that Seattle lost that many food service jobs in one month right after the minimum wage went up to $11 an hour? In 2017, the wage is supposed to increase to $15 an hour. I wonder how many jobs that will destroy.

If it’s that bad in one city, imagine how bad it would be if this were forced on the entire country. Getting the government involved in wage controls is a bad idea. Unless the real goal is to destroy the economy, in which case it works like a charm.