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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Topic: minimum wage

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January 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Better education, lower wages

In 1968, about 37 percent of the total workforce had not completed high-school or received a GED. It 2012, this number had dropped to 9 percent. And yet the national minimum wage is 23 percent lower than its 1968 peak value when adjusted for inflation. So the axiom that better education translates into higher wages…

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0 Comments | More in Income/wages | Topics: minimum wage

January 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Vote: Should Seattle raise the minimum wage?

One of the most important issues facing the city this year will be the push to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. If the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity, it would have been $21.72 an hour in 2012, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Instead, the federal minimum wage…

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November 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Minimum wage: Today SeaTac, tomorrow the nation?

Well, no. If the trend holds and SeaTac voters approve a $15-per-hour minimum wage, it will be very hard to translate this victory into a national movement.

SeaTac is a tiny municipality with only 12,000 registered voters. It has a large number of low-wage restaurant and hotel businesses that are captive to their proximity to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They will have little choice but to pay the new wage.

For that same reason, SeaTac won’t likely be a useful laboratory to examine the unintended consequences that critics warned about, or the benefits that supporters claim.

Enacting the wage in a city such as Seattle would be much more difficult, even though Mayor-elect Ed Murray has paid lip service to it. Business community resistance would be fierce and potent. And businesses would have more options: Move, close, cut back hours and refuse to hire the least-skilled workers.

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0 Comments | More in Inequality, Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: minimum wage, SeaTac vote