A new study by Puget Sound Sage concludes that a $15 minimum wage would create large scale benefits for women and people of color in Seattle, and effectively narrow our city’s gender and race pay gaps. In a policy brief released today, Puget Sound Sage examines the potential outcomes of a $15 minimum wage on the local economy, assesses outcomes by industry sector, and demonstrates that a $15 minimum wage (with a phase-in only approach) is the single best option to reduce Seattle’s gender and race pay gap.
Key findings from the policy brief include:
- $526 million dollars will be added to the paychecks of Seattle’s lowest wage workers: a wage increase that is significant for low-income families trying to make ends meet, but represents only 1.7% of Seattle employers’ total payroll costs.
- This infusion of new earnings will result in worker spending and re-spending, creating a total ripple effect of $625 million dollars to the regional economy.
- Women and people of color living in Seattle currently earn between 44% and 71% of what white men earn.
- The over-representation of women and people of color in low-wage industries, such as food services, likely explains much of this pay gap.
- Raising the minimum wage is the fastest and most targeted policy option to narrow the gender and race pay gap.
The brief concludes that well-crafted, phased-in increase in the minimum wage can support a thriving economy.