2015 Local Minimum Wage Increases and Restaurant Employment Trends

In a number major cities, policymakers and labor advocates have successfully enacted laws that mandate large raises in the minimum wage. In 2015, several cities began to implement these minimum wage increases. These cities include San Francisco and Seattle, both of which are currently phasing in $15 per hour minimum wages. Towards the end of last year, American Action Forum examined restaurant employment growth in each of the major metropolitan areas where a minimum wage increased. Now that we have a complete year of data, we take another look at these cities. The facts continue to show that in 2015, restaurant employment in the major metropolitan areas with minimum wage increases suffered. Not only did restaurant employment grow slower in these metropolitan areas than in the rest of their states, but the growth rates decelerated from last year in the metropolitan areas while in the rest of their states they accelerated. This indicates that despite accelerating restaurant job growth in the states where these metropolitan areas are located, restaurant employment growth in the metropolitan areas still suffered.

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