But, but, but, the economy is (was?) improving. The administration told us, and they don't lie!
U.S. cities that implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more in 2015 have seen a strikingly similar aftermath: Job gains have fallen to multiyear lows at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality venues.
The data aren't, for the most part, stark and reliable enough to amount to smoking-gun proof. But Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. — all on the leading edge of the push for big minimum wage hikes — all show worrisome job trends.
The strongest evidence comes from the nation's capital, where leisure and hospitality employment, which rose at least 3% annually over the prior four years, fell an average of 1% from a year ago in the three months through November. So instead of adding 2,000 or more jobs per year, restaurants, hotels and the rest of the leisure and hospitality sector have lost about 700 jobs.
The timing coincides with the $1 minimum-wage hike to $10.50 an hour last July. That jump followed a boost from $8.25 to $9.50 an hour that took effect in mid-2014. Another jump to $11.50 is set for this July.
The D.C. data are key because they reveal outright job losses confined to the city limits. Researchers studying the latest round of citywide minimum-wage hikes generally have had to rely on data for a big chunk of the broader metropolitan area, making the analysis more speculative. More reliable data through 2015 will be available in June via the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
Who could have predicted if you raised the price of labor, there would be less of it? Certainly not Bernie Sanders.