Victoria Stilwell, Peter Robison & William Selway
Washington raised the minimum wage in 1998 linking it to inflation. In the 15 years that followed, the state's minimum wage climbed to $9.32 - highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington's restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent.
Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years
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