Remember when they said higher wages would be bad news?

When Seattle was debating the $15 minimum wage, some industry lobby groups tried to pretend that raising wages would be bad for our economy. But two years after the minimum wage law passed and with raises phasing in, Seattle is booming and jobs are widely available — more evidence of the simple truth that more people with more money means more customers for more businesses.

In fact, restaurant & hotel owners are now reporting that the economy is so strong, they're having trouble hiring — and that higher wages are spreading into the area around Seattle. (Which of course is the exact opposite of businesses fleeing the city because of higher wages.)

Here's what the Washington Restaurant Association — one of the main industry lobby groups — wrote in a recent post on their website about the current labor market

  • Ivar’s reports they've had to raise wages at their restaurants outside of Seattle in order to hire staff.
  • Dick's Drive-In reports that it’s difficult to find employees because the higher minimum wage means “everyone else is more in line with us.” (Previously Dick's claimed they'd cut benefits if wages were raised.)
  • And the owner of a Lynnwood-based hotel group reports difficulty recruiting employees because of the increasing minimum wage in Seattle.

It's all yet more evidence that when we raise wages, we lift up workers, boost the economy — and the sky remains aloft.