Business leaders and local communities see better economy when minimum wage improves

June 29, 2012 | Economic Opportunity Institute

wallet with money

A minimum wage increase puts money in people’s pockets – and that’s good for (all) business.

The head of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and an executive of big-box wholesaler Costco endorsed a minimum wage increase just last week. John Levesque, editor of Seattle Business magazine, wrote in favor of the idea earlier this year. And communities like San Francisco and Santa Fe have seen improvements in their business climate since increasing their local minimum wage:

After San Francisco enacted its law, the nation’s top 100 retailers expanded the number of stores in the city from 207 to 241. This included a new Safeway (NYSE: SWY) supermarket, five new Walgreens (NYSE: WAG), seven new 7-Eleven stores and four new Gaps…

And in Santa Fe, Sam’s Club began voluntarily paying the higher wage even before the new law took effect, and Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) and Sunflower supermarkets all opened new stores. The Lowe’s manager there told the media that the required higher wage was “not a problem” and that Lowe’s was “glad to comply.”

Those perspectives and experiences back up what economists like Arindrajit Dube (University of Massachusetts) have been saying for a long time: there is no “evidence of any loss of employment or hours for the type of minimum-wage changes we have seen in the US in the last 20 years.”

In fact, raising the minimum wage is one of the most effective ways we could immediately create jobs on Main Street in every community in the country. The Federal Reserve of Chicago reports that every dollar increase for a minimum wage worker results in $2,800 in new consumer spending by his or her household over the following year.

~ By EOI Intern Travis Crayton

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Posted in A Fair Deal at Work, Minimum Wage

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  1. […] There’s an easy way to fix that: increase the minimum wage, so people have money in their pockets to go shopping. (This is a very popular idea, btw – and it works.) […]

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