New data from the state Employment Security Division shows that Seattle's economy is thriving in the age of $15:
- Seattle's job growth rate tripled the national average over the past 18 months, at a rate even higher than recent years.
- Employment was up 2.6% over "business as usual" from already high levels
- Hours worked were up 12 per quarter
- Earnings were up $463 per quarter.
- Business openings were up 1% over already elevated rates
By contrast, when Seattle passed the nation's first citywide $15 minimum wage, some of the most outspoken Chicken Littles forecast that the economy would crash and the sky would fall in a matter of months.
The numbers released today show how desperately wrong they were. The $15 minimum wage is phasing in, and Seattle's economy is booming. Employment is up. Hours worked are up. Job growth is triple the national average. New businesses are opening at a remarkable clip. The sky remains aloft, and the city's economy continues to rise.
Unable to find the disaster they assumed they'd discover, some observers have now conjured up an artificial version of Seattle to try and get us all to imagine that somehow higher wages are holding back a city which has perhaps the strongest economy in the nation.
It's Chicken Little on acid: the sky isn't falling, but their hallucinations are intense.