via Politifact Oregon, go to link below for the entire article!
Has Oregon’s higher minimum wage hurt our restaurant industry?
Melvin “Mel” Sickler, a representative of the National Restaurant Association, recently told a U.S. Senate committee to put the brakes on a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage and tie it to inflation. Why? Boosting the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would reduce the number of jobs in the food service industry, Sickler said. The claim: In his testimony, Sickler trotted Oregon out as an example of a state with a high minimum wage (it’s $8.95) tied to inflation, saying that’s happened here. Here’s what he said: “Given the experience in states that have raised their minimum wages above the federal rate, we know the impact The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would have, if enacted, on the availability of jobs in my industry. “For example, Oregon’s state minimum wage is now $8.95, more than a dollar less than what is being proposed in The Fair Minimum Wage
Act of 2013. After peaking at 16.4 employees per establishment in 1996, the average number of workers in Oregon’s restaurants declined steadily.” Wow, right?
See, lots of things happened between 1997 and 2011. Brewpubs began sprouting up like mushrooms across the state. Food carts blossomed in downtown Portland, then throughout the metro area. Foodie culture hit, increasing the interest in small locally owned restaurants over big national chains. There also were a couple recessions. We weren’t sure of the effects of all those things, so we looked at the underlying data. There we found that the yearly number of food service establishments in Oregon grew each year from 1997 through 2011. Employment grew every year except 2010, when it took a tiny dip. The “employees per establishment” number quoted by the restaurant association, seems to have changed over time, but not because of amassive drop in employment or restaurants. If you control for population growth, you get a clearer indication of the impact of recessions and the business cycle on the industry.
That’s just what Lehner did. His conclusion was that Oregon’s a pretty good place to nosh. From 2001 to 2011, Oregon consistently had more establishments per 1,000 people than the U.S. average, and it had more people working in the food service industry per 1,000 people than the national average. During the entire time, Oregon’s minimum wage was higher than the national average and steadily crept up, matching inflation.