Critics would have you believe that upping the minimum wage in restaurants will lead to massive layoffs and closures. But since raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour nearly a year ago, the restaurant industry in New York City has thrived.
I’m a professor with a focus on labor and employment law. My research on the minimum wage suggests a few reasons why this might be true.
What hasn’t happened
When worker pay goes up, employers can respond in a number of different ways. They can cut hours, lay off workers, accept smaller profits or raise prices.
With profits so low in the restaurant industry, averaging just 3%-5%, employers may not have the option to accept less in profits without going in the red.
In many industries, increased labor costs may prompt businesses to lay off American workers and move operations overseas where labor costs are lower. But this isn’t a viable solution in the restaurant industry, since most of the work is done on-site.
That leaves restaurant owners with two options. The first is to decrease the number of hours each employee works, which might explain why income gains from a higher minimum wage aren’t as large as one would predict.
Still, massive layoffs in the restaurant industry are unlikely because owners need a certain number of staff to operate a full-service kitchen.
The other option is to increase prices, which many restaurants in New York City have done.
Some in the restaurant industry have argued that raising menu prices will lead to fewer people dining out and, consequentially, more restaurant closures.
But this hasn’t happened.
In fact, both restaurant revenue and employment are up. The reason for this is that restaurants don’t have to raise prices very much to pay for a minimum-wage increase.
In one study, for example, a $0.80 minimum wage increase equated to a 3.2% increase of food prices in restaurants in New Jersey. This is the amount that the New Jersey minimum wage increased in 1992.
Even a one-time increase of 10% to 15% is unlikely to dissuade large numbers of customers from dining out. That would amount to an extra $1.20 on a $12 burger.
The focus on single restaurants also ignores the larger economic impact of raising the minimum wage. According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, if low-wage workers have more money in their pockets, they will have more money to spend, potentially expanding the number of consumers who can afford to eat out.
In fact, some people — including those from the Economic Policy Institute — have posited that a minimum-wage increase will actually lead to an increase in employment because of the effects of giving low-wage workers a raise. Other advantages to restaurants may include lower turnover rates and better job performance.
Ну вот, в Нью Йорке повысили минималку до 15 долларов и, вдруг! рестораны не стали массово разоряться. Оказалось, что наоборот вышло: им стало выгоднее работать. Как же так? А включился мультипликатор: работники стали больше тратить, у тех, на кого они потратили деньги повысились доходы и у них появилось больше денег на рестораны! При этом, я вам фотки показывал, рестораны все-таки закрываются, но причина тут жадность арендодателей: повышают кратно аренду, ведь аренда жилых площадей растет тоже кратно, а почему тут не? На выходе получилось, что проклятые социалисты с их минималкой способствуют экономике, а эффективные собственники - почему-то её душат. Вот ведь незадача! Основной миф республикакашек опровергнут жизнью. Опыт-то - критерий истины