Generally, those business owners who threatened to leave Seattle to evade the new wage haven’t been following through. “The restaurant industry moans and groans about minimum wage increase, but the Seattle newspaper every month has a story about 40 new restaurants opening,” said Jennifer Romich, a University of Washington social policy researcher. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in restaurants and bars in the Seattle area has grown from 134,000 to 158,000 since 2015.) Surveying employers, Romich and other researchers found the most common response to the wage increase was to raise prices or fiddle with workers’ hours, and a “very small percentage were thinking about withdrawing or leaving the city.”
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