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Owing largely to its rapidly increasing population in the 21st century, Seattle and the state of Washington have some of the highest minimum wages in the country, at per hour for smaller businesses and for the city's largest employers. From 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District.The jazz scene nurtured the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and others.(During this period the road now known as Yesler Way won the nickname "Skid Road," supposedly after the timber skidding down the hill to Henry Yesler's sawmill.The later dereliction of the area may be a possible origin for the term which later entered the wider American lexicon as Skid Row.) Authorities declared martial law and federal troops arrived to put down the disorder.The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border.
The first such boom, covering the early years of the city, rode on the lumber industry.Growth after World War II was partially due to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing.The Seattle area developed into a technology center from the 1980s onwards with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region; Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a Seattleite by birth.Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle in 1994, and major airline Alaska Airlines is based in Sea Tac, Washington, serving Seattle's international airport, Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.The stream of new software, biotechnology, and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by almost 50,000 between 19.