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Media Coverage Comparison 2: Seattle Minimum Wage Study

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Media Coverage Comparison 2: Seattle Minimum Wage Study

We decided to compare the media coverage both in headlines and content from several sources as they report on a new study of the minimum wage in Seattle.

Today we’re going to take a look at the headlines around a recently released study on Seattle’s minimum wage.  As we did with the coverage of the killing of Nabra Hassanen, we’ll feature the lead paragraphs or significant portions of the articles, one after the other, so you can see how (or whether) they differ.  And as before, we’ll provide links to all the stories, so you can judge for yourself how the coverage differs, and compare the tone and detail in each piece.

First, the details.  Seattle implemented a minimum wage increase plan in April of 2015, with the goal of getting all affected workers to $15 an hour by 2021.  Varying predictions have been made by multiple sources since the plan was put in place, but the latest research by the National Bureau of Economic Research has delivered preliminary conclusions that suggest that workers are worse off under the new policy.  Early criticisms of the study have emerged as well.

Now let’s look at how various news and information sources treated the news of this study in their headlines:

And the articles themselves:

Five Thirty Eight

In January 2016, Seattle’s minimum wage jumped from $11 an hour to $13 for large employers, the second big increase in less than a year. New research released Monday by a team of economists at the University of Washington suggests the wage hike may have come at a significant cost: The increase led to steep declines in employment for low-wage workers, and a drop in hours for those who kept their jobs. Crucially, the negative impact of lost jobs and hours more than offset the benefits of higher wages — on average, low-wage workers earned $125 per month less because of the higher wage, a small but significant decline.

ABC

Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has cost the city jobs, according to a study released Monday that contradicted another new study published last week.

A University of Washington team studying the law’s effects found that the law has boosted pay in low-wage jobs since it took effect in 2015, but that it also caused a 9 percent reduction in hours worked, The Seattle Times reported ( https://goo.gl/G1Vr64 ). For an average low-wage Seattle worker, that’s a loss of about $125 per month, the study said.

Seattle Times

Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.

The report, by members of the University of Washington team studying the law’s impacts for the city of Seattle, is being published Monday by a nonprofit think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Washington Post

The city is gradually increasing the hourly minimum to $15 over several years. Already, though, some employers have not been able to afford the increased minimums. They’ve cut their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours or letting their workers go, the study found.

The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

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Fox Business

A new study reveals Seattle’s minimum wage increase to $15 an hour is actually having a negative impact, with low-wage workers earning on average $125 less a month due to the minimum wage hike.

‘Bar Rescue’ host Jon Taffer said the wage increase led to fewer hours for some, and unemployment for others.

“So here’s the result, employment growth was at 6%-7% in the restaurant sector for employees, it’s now down to 1.2%,” Taffer told FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney. “A lot of restauranteurs have cut back staffing by 10%, reduced employees to part time, the employees lost on this.”

Associated Press

A new study of Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law says it costs jobs, contrary to another new study released last week.

The Seattle Times reports a University of Washington team found the law boosted pay in low-wage jobs since 2014 but that it also caused a 9 percent reduction in hours worked. For an average low-wage Seattle worker, that’s a loss of about $125 per month.

The study says there would be about 5,000 more low-wage jobs in the city without the law.

Market Watch

A sharp increase in Seattle’s minimum wage may have cost low-income workers in the restaurant business as much as $125 per month even though they got paid more per hour, a study suggests.

The study by the National Bureau of Economic Research is the latest to examine Seattle’s aggressive steps since 2014 to raise the minimum wage to the highest levels in the U.S., adding to a growing debate over whether such an approach is helpful or hurtful to the workers meant to benefit.

After Seattle jacked up the minimum wage by a combined 37% over nine months, restaurants cut the average number of hours each employee worked by 9.4%, the study estimated.

Mother Jones

The authors suggest that Seattle lost about 10,000 low-wage jobs when the minimum wage increased from $11 to $13. If this is confirmed in subsequent studies, it suggests that a minimum wage of, say, $12 per hour, has a minimal effect on low-skill employment. But $15 will have a significant effect.

The effect on hours worked is similar. At $11, the reduction in low-wage jobs is small and probably illusory anyway: “It appears that any ‘loss’ in hours at lower thresholds is likely to reflect a cascade of workers to higher wage levels.”

U.S. News

Not all is rosy in Seattle as the city gradually pushes to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, according to a new study that suggests hiring and the number of hours worked among lower-wage employees took a hit last year as minimum pay rose.

The National Bureau of Economic Research unveiled a working paper on Monday that found the number of hours worked in low-skill professions dropped more than 9 percent in Seattle during the first three quarters of last year, while low-wage jobs declined by 6.8 percent, or by more than 5,000 positions.

The Blaze

In a city with the highest minimum wage in the country, Seattle workers are increasingly unemployed and underemployed, according to new research from the University of Washington.

Seattle hiked its minimum wage from $11 to $13 in January 2016, marking the city’s second minimum wage increase in less than a year. Economists found that a $13 minimum wage resulted in declines for low-income workers as well as fewer hours for those who kept their jobs. Higher wages didn’t mitigate losses for these workers, with the study finding that “total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016.”

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Washington Examiner

A new study by the University of Washington has found Seattle’s increase of its minimum wage to $13 an hour, part of a planned hike to $15, has left low-wage workers worse off.

The study found the increase led to reduced employment for those workers and cut hours for those who kept their jobs. That undid the effects of the higher wages.

LA Times

A much-anticipated study released Monday by a team of researchers at the University of Washington is likely to intensify that controversy — just as Los Angeles heads toward its own minimum-wage increase for large businesses,from $10.50 an hour to $12 an hour on July 1.

The new study has found that jobs and work hours fell for Seattle’s lowest paid employees after the city raised the minimum wage to $13 last year.

The analysis shows that jobs and hours for those workers declined faster in Seattle than in surrounding control areas, where the minimum wage did not increase.

National Review

A working paper released today improves on prior research and suggests that there are indeed substantial employment losses as you approach the Left’s target of $15 an hour — and that those losses far outweigh the higher wages paid to the workers who stay employed. Economists at the University of Washington were given access to administrative data that include the earnings and hours of individual workers in Washington State, allowing them to precisely identify workers by the wages they made. (Previous studies usually relied on more roundabout methods, like looking at stereotypical low-wage workers such as teens or those in the retail or restaurant industries.) They were able to see what happened to low-wage workers — defined as those making up to $19 an hour — as Seattle’s minimum wage grew from $9.47 to $11 in 2015 and then to $13 the next year.

Zero Hedge

Of course, no matter how much anecdotal and/or hard evidence is presented to liberals on the negative consequences on higher minimum wages they simply can’t be convinced it’s a bad idea. Somehow, the basic economic concept that raising the price of good (i.e. wages) would somehow destroy demand (i.e. employment levels) for that good just does not compute in the minds of progressives.

Never the less, below is yet another study from economists at the University of Washington that reveals some fairly startling takeaways about Seattle’s minimum wage. Per the chart below, minimum wages in Seattle increased from $11 in 2015 to $13 in 2016 and $15 in 2017 for large employers.

 

Just as in the last comparison, we’re interested in your thoughts.  After looking at the different headlines and quotes and reading the different articles, what do you think?

  • Was the coverage wildly different, or was it mostly the same?
  • Did any one source seem to cover the story better than the others?
  • Which stories seemed to contain more bias of any sort?
  • Were important details left out of any coverage?
  • Did anything about the story or the coverage surprise you?
  • What questions do you have that might not have been answered in the reporting?
  • What other sources would you recommend people seek out to get more information?
  • Did it help you understand the story (or the media) better to see the articles side by side?
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Felicia Cravens
About Felicia Cravens 43 Articles
Felicia Cravens is a freelance writer and conservative activist who has worked in Republican leadership for nearly two decades. She founded the Houston Tea Party Society and has spent years training and speaking to activists about party participation, conventions, parliamentary procedure, and messaging. Her work can also be found at Free Radical Network.

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