Consumer Price Index for Washington state employers is forcing another bump upwards in the minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2014 the minimum wage will be $9.32 up thirteen cents per hour. Residents of SeaTac approved a $15.00/hour minimum wage which will impact the wages of hotel and airport employees.
Washington State has the highest minimum wage rate in the country and despite being one of the wealthiest states it is also the 19th lowest on poverty rate, 4th highest in union participation, and the 15th highest state for cost of living.
So does a high minimum wage pay off economically? Certainly, employees need to make a living wage but the cost of doing business in this state may erode the job market for employees. Is the $15/hour minimum wage at SeaTac a viable strategy to put more money is employee’s pockets for the purpose of spending and thus creating more jobs? Time will tell. But one thing you can count on, employees at the surrounding business of Seatac that are not part of the $15.00/hour minimum wage will likely bolt from their $9.23/hour job for a shot at $15.00/hour. Then what?
Finding the sweet spot in pay and benefits that is sustainable for the long run is a delicate balancing act. We may soon discover if Washington State and Seatac more specifically has hit that balance or hit the tipping point!