New York City raised minimum wage to $15, and its restaurants outperformed the nation

After NYC raised its minimum wage from $7.25/h to $15/h this year -- the largest pay hike for low-waged workers in half a century -- the city's restaurants boomed, posting the highest growth levels in the country.

The findings come from a study undertaken by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and the National Employment Law Project.

The study found no negative effects on city business attributable to the pay rise, though they also note that the city is experiencing strong cross-sectoral growth overall that makes it hard to attribute the restaurant industry's incredible showing to any single factor (though the outer boroughs experienced growth comparable to Manhattan, despite overall cooler economies).

But it's still an important set of empirical findings to counter the scare-stories from neoliberals who warn that paying a living wage is a path to economic collapse.

New York’s rising minimum wage has tremendously benefitted low-wage workers, including those in both the full-service and limited-service categories. New York City workers in the lowest-paid three deciles ofthe wage distribution have seen inflation-adjusted wage gains of 8.5 to 15 percent since 2013 (the largest wage gains for these workers in the last 50 years). Wage gains among restaurant workers have been even stronger, with 2013-18 real wag e increases averaging 15-23 percent for full-service and 26-30 percent for limited-service restaurant workers.

Wage gains have been strongest among New York City’s limited-service restaurant workers, since their average wages are lower than for full-service restaurant workers. Average restaurant wages have risen much faster in New York City than in any of the 12 large cities with no minimum wage increases from 2013-18. In the case of limited-service New York City restaurants, workers’ average weekly wages have grown more than twice as fast as for their counterparts in those 12 cities.

New York City’s $15 Minimum Wage and Restaurant Employment and Earnings [Lina Moe, James Parrott,and Yannet Lathrop/Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and the National Employment Law Project]

NYC's $15 minimum wage hasn't brought the restaurant apocalypse — it's helped them thrive [Allana Akhtar/Business Insider]

(via Naked Capitalism)