South Dakota and Minnesota have increased their minimum wages over the last couple of years, but neither has taken the great leap of Seattle, which raised its minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 on April 1, 2015. Seattle companies employing 500 or more workers in the U.S. must reach $15 by January 1, 2017; smaller companies must reach that minimum wage by 2021.
So how are we all looking for unemployment, which opponents tell us goes up when we raise the minimum wage?
As one of my colleagues wrote last week, the “unemployment rate in the city of Seattle – the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments – has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%.” Meanwhile, a University of Washington study on the minimum wage law found little or no evidence of job losses or business closings.
South Dakota Republicans are working hard to undo the will of the voters. Let’s hope the data discourage them from tinkering (again) with our minimum wage increases.