Recent experiences with minimum wages

A nice The New York Times story on Seattle that prompted this roundup (HT:Bill Sundstrom): “In their latest paper, which has not been formally peer reviewed, Mr. Vigdor and his colleagues considered how the minimum-wage increases affected three broad groups: People in low-wage jobs who worked the most during the nine months leading up to and including the quarter in which the increase took effect (more than about 600 or 700 hours, depending on the year); people who worked less during that nine-month period (fewer than 600 or 700 hours); and people who didn’t work at all and hadn’t during several previous years, but might later work. The latter were potential “new entrants” to the ranks of the employed, in the authors’ words. The workers who worked the most ahead of the minimum-wage increase appeared to do the best. They saw a significant increase in their wages and only a small percentage decrease in their hours, leading to a healthy bump in overall pay — an average of $84 a month for the nine months that followed the 2016 minimum-wage increase.”

Mercury News story on minimum wage rise in San Jose: “So in 2015, he eliminated the option for tipping and instead raised menu prices 20 percent in order to increase wages across the restaurant well above the minimum required by law. Without having to tip, customers could better absorb the price increases, Sassen said, and he could afford to boost the base pay across his work force instead of relying on customers to “subsidize” his front-of-house staff while his kitchen staff struggled. Chris Hillyard, who owns coffee shops Farley’s in San Francisco and Farley’s East in Oakland, said when minimum wages increase, he sometimes has to raise menu prices to compensate. It can be a “challenge,” he said, but customers have been supportive so far.”

A 2016 policy brief about likely effects of minimum wage increase in San Jose area: “Increasing the minimum wage to $15 would increase earnings for 115,000 workers, or 31.1 percent of the city’s workforce. Among those getting raises in San Jose, annual pay w
ould increase 17.8 percent, or about $3,000 (in 2014 dollars) on average. These estimates include a ripple effect: some workers who already earn $1 5 will also receive an increase.
96 percent of workers who would get increases are over 20 and 56 percent are over 30
—with a median age of 32.  The proposed minimum wage increase would disproportionately benefit Latinos, who represent 53 percent of affected workers.”

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
This entry was posted in Burkina Faso, United States. Bookmark the permalink.