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None of Last Seven Min Wage Increases Have Negatively Impacted Restaurant Employment

A Bloomberg article this week examined claims by the restaurant industry saying that raising the middle wage would lead to fewer jobs. Past wage increases reject this theory and show that each of the seven times the federal minimum wage has been risen since 1990, employment remained the same.  In fact the only dips in restaurant employment fall in line with recessions.  

The chart above concisely illustrates the reality.

The solid line represents the number of total restaurant workers, from 1990 to the end of last year, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As you can see, the only dips in restaurant employment came during the recessions of 1990-1991 and 2008-2009. Although those drops followed increases in the minimum wage, increases outside of recessions — in 1996, 1997 and 2007 — didn’t lead to reductions in employment levels.

Traditional as well as what the Bureau of Labor Statistics labels “limited-service” restaurants (e.g. fast food joints) were analyzed. Both follow the same trend, dipping during recession but not after wage increases.

Read more on the analysis here.

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