Forbes: Higher Seattle Minimum Wage Hasn't Hurt Restaurant Jobs Growth After A Year

By Erik Sherman
Forbes, Jan 7, 2017

Someone I know had posted a link about a fast food CEO who said that higher business growth followed minimum wage hikes in California. According to KQED, Bill Phelps, chief executive of Wetzel’s Pretzels, which has more than 100 outlets in the state, was "shocked" when business rose after a wage increase.

"My overall sales were something like 15 percent ahead after the first minimum wage bump, and now they’re about 12 percent ahead this year," [Franchisee] Jacobs said. "It isn’t because I’m such a great manager or smart guy, but the buying public has more money in their pocket."

My Forbes colleague Tim Worstall and I have had a running disagreement as to whether increasing minimum wage has a negative effect on the number of restaurant jobs. The sector is important in understanding income inequality and work in general because it is a source of many low-wage jobs.

My argument has been that the increase in minimum wage hasn't had any apparent effect according to data available from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. ...

In the case of Seattle, restaurant jobs have continued to grow in general at the pace they had for years. Maybe it's because people continue to have more money to spend and they're willing to. Perhaps it's a growing population or a greater number of restaurants opening that creates a greater demand for labor, whether the region can ultimately sustain that number or not. ...

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