Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”). Those figures are based on employment data for the city of Seattle only (not the Seattle MSA or MD), and are available from the BLS website here (data are “not seasonally adjusted”).
Update: The chart below shows that while the city of Seattle experienced a sharp drop in employment of more 11,000 jobs between April and December last year (light blue line, BLS data available here), employment in Seattle’s neighboring suburbs outside the city limits (Seattle MSA employment minus Seattle city employment) increased over that period by nearly 57,000 jobs and reached a new record high in November 2015 before falling slightly in December.
Bottom Line II: Additional evidence showing that while jobs in the city of Seattle were tanking starting last April, employment in the suburbs surrounding Seattle was increasing steadily to a new record high in November. That departure in employment trends: job declines inside the city limits of Seattle compared to increasing employment outside the city limits suggests the possibility that the difference in labor costs could have been a contributing factor.
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