San Jose minimum wage: A year-old success story
By Scott Myers-Lipton and Patrick Quyo
Special to the Mercury News
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the $10 minimum wage in San Jose. The success of this minimum wage increase has major implications for other cities, states, and the nation.
Measure D was created by San Jose State students and supported by the South Bay Labor Council, Sacred Heart Community Service, and United Way Silicon Valley. It was passed in November 2012 with the support of 60 percent of the electorate, and it was implemented 90 days later on March 11.
A year later, it is clear that raising San Jose’s minimum wage has been an incredible success. The data shows that under San Jose’s minimum wage, unemployment was reduced, the number of businesses grew, the number of minimum wage jobs expanded, average employee hours remained constant and the economy was stimulated.
The unemployment rate dropped in the San Jose metro area from 7.6 percent in February, 2013 to 5.8 percent in December, the last month available. Part of the reason for this almost two-point drop in unemployment is that the 40,000 minimum wage workers in San Jose have pumped more than $100 million into the local economy this past year, stimulating the economic growth of Silicon Valley.
The city reports that business is growing, with 84,000 businesses registered at the start of 2014 compared to 75,000 the previous year. Importantly, the leisure and hospitality industry — the sector that includes food services, and where many minimum wage employees work — experienced a net increase of 4,000 jobs in San Jose in 2013, according to the California Employment Development Department.
In the city center, the San Jose Downtown Association reports that businesses grew by 3 percent in the past year, with the retail sector, which includes restaurants, increasing to 19 percent of all downtown businesses, up from 15 percent in 2012.
read the entire article: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_25315215/san-jose-minimum-wage-year-old-success-story