According to University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry, about 1,300 jobs have been cut in Seattle’s restaurant industry between January and June. Perry told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that overall employment in Seattle has increased by about 1.2 percent since January.
And, outside of Seattle, food service jobs have increased by 3.2 percent. These findings provide “initial evidence that what is happening is due to the minimum wage ordinance.” Perry explained that the $15 minimum wage requirement has already had “some negative effects on jobs in the restaurant industry.” MyNorthwest.com,
“Not only are jobs in the food industry increasing elsewhere in the state and country, but they were increasing by about 4 percent per year in Seattle until the wage law took effect, Perry pointed out. Owning a restaurant is ‘very competitive,’ he explained. Restaurants run on thin margins, so when owners face increased labor costs, something is bound to suffer. In Seattle’s case, it’s the jobs themselves.
“‘That’s a huge burden that will translate into fewer jobs and restaurants,’ Perry said…
“‘The laws of economics are not optional, just like the laws of gravity or thermodynamics,’ Perry said. ‘Politicians can pretend they can circumvent [the laws], ignore them or suspend them, but the reality is they can’t suspend the laws of economics any more than they can the laws of gravity or thermodynamics.’”
As the New York Times has pointed out, not even proponents of minimum wage hikes dispute the fact that, at some point, increasing the minimum wage outweighs the economic benefits. The New York Times,
“Michael Reich, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work has bolstered the case for minimum wage increases, said in a recent interview that it would be disingenuous to suggest that the potential costs of raising the minimum could never outweigh the economic benefits. ‘We don’t know at what point that kicks in,’ he said. ‘We know that hasn’t happened at 50 percent or 55 percent.’ (Other minimum-wage scholars, like David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, believe this happens much sooner.)”