As Seattle's minimum wage begins to reach $15 on January 1st, local unemployment has been measured at just 3.4%. The thriving local economy is self-evident to anyone who even drives through the city — but the Chicken Littles are still trying to make a last stand.
Here's the latest: the owner of the Amante Pizza & Pasta outlet on Capitol Hill told KIRO-7 TV this week that “it’s very hard to survive with this minimum wage.” The TV news story treated this as a warning to businesses about the impact of the statewide minimum wage increase, and even suggested layoffs and price increases were likely on the way.
But — like usual — that’s hardly the whole story.
That same Amante Pizza location KIRO visited has a current ad posted on Craigslist, hiring for a "long term team" of servers and drivers:
And as recently as March of this year, a rep of that same Amante Pizza talked about remodeling and investing further in the space, telling the invaluable Capitol Hill Seattle that:
“We’ve been here for nine years and I think we’ll be here for another nine years.”
He’s probably right about that part, because when wages rise, that means more people with more money to spend at more businesses. After all, one business’s employees are customers at dozens of other businesses, so when wages go up, prosperity grows.
So there we have it, yet again: a pizza chain that says it's hurt by minimum wage is actually hiring, remodeling, investing, and planning on a long future. In fact, Seattle and particularly Capitol Hill are in the midst of a pizza boom — at the time of this writing, there are an incredible 79 different pizza job listings in the Seattle area, on Craigslist alone. Last year there were even reports of a shortage of pizza cooks.
As the minimum wage hits $15, Seattle’s economy is thriving. Don’t let anyone tell you any different — including a business owner or a TV station with a convenient story to sell you.