MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Study: Grocery prices unaffected by Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance

Feb 7, 2019, 5:54 AM | Updated: 6:15 am

minimum wage seattle...

A new study looks into the minimum wage. (AP)

(AP)

The latest study out of the University of Washington found no clear increase in grocery store prices after Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance began.

UW researchers examined prices at 106 supermarkets in Seattle and compared them with six grocery stores from the same chains outside Seattle in King County. Starting in April 2015, when the ordinance first went into effect, the study tracked prices at various points over the years as wages gradually rose to $15 per hour. Researchers found no significant evidence of price increases.

RELATED: Study: Young, new workers struggling amid Seattle $15 minimum wage

This is part of a series of studies the university has conducted on the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance, each of which seems to add talking points to both sides of the contentious debate.

Recently, another UW assessment showed that after the implementation of the minimum wage ordinance, workers with more experience maintained a better share of hours. Those with less experience, however, have had fewer paid hours. The study also showed that the number of people newly entering the workforce peaked around the time minimum wage started increasing, and has actually declined since then.

Childcare businesses seeing increase in prices

Along with grocery stores, the UW study additionally examined how childcare businesses are being impacted, and found that as the policy increased to $13 per hour, child tuition prices increased and staff hours were cut.

RELATED: Battle of experience: Economics of hiring minimum wage workers

Data was gleaned from payroll data for 200 businesses and from surveys and interviews with child-care directors.

As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage for employers with 500 workers or more rose to $16 per hour, while employers with less than 500 workers went to $15 per hour. Small employers can meet this requirement by paying no less than $12 and making up the difference by contributing to their workers’ medical benefits and/or reported tips.

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Study: Grocery prices unaffected by Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance