Seattle, which passed a $15minimum wage law in 2014, is a lab for looking at the effects of minimum wage hikes on overall employment.
Based on the data so far, the editorial of the New York Post urges New York Governor Mario Cuomo to rethink his "fight for $15" campaign. A $15 minimum wage makes for appealing campaign rhetoric for a politician with national ambitions.
The story from Seattle heralds a disaster for New York if Cuomo succeeds.
Seattle's minimum wage is slated to be hiked in increments. In April, it will be raised from $9.32 (the state minimum wage) to $10 for some businesses and to $11 for others.
Most employers began seeing increases in January. There were hikes to $12, $12.50 and $13 for most employers at that time. The jumps will continue until the minimum is $15 an hour in 2017.
But the results have already been disastrous for many working families. The editors cite a study by the American Enterprise Institute:
The AEI study, worked up from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly surveys, shows that, between April and December last year, Seattle saw the biggest employment drop in any nine-month period since 2009 — a full year into the Great Recession.
The city unemployment rate rose a full percentage point.
Before the minimum-wage hikes begin, Seattle employment tracked the rest of the nation — slowly rising from the 2008-09 bottom. But it started to plunge last spring, as the new law began to kick in.
Furthermore, Seattle’s loss of 10,000 jobs in just the three months of September, October and November was a record for any three-month period dating back to 1990.
Meanwhile, employment outside the city limits — which had long tracked the rate in Seattle proper — was soaring by 57,000 and set a new record high that November.
Bottom line: A $15 law in New York is guaranteed to destroy jobs here — and boost employment in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and even Vermont.
Seattle is learning that it can’t unilaterally ignore basic economics. Businesses adapt to government dictates. To survive mandated pay hikes, they lay off employees, or avoid new hires to control costs.
Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee for the presidency, will be calling for minimum wage hikes against this background. It will probably help her–but not anybody else. Who benefits from raising the minimum wage? Democratic politicians.