More than six months after the $15 minimum wage went into effect in New York City, business leaders and owners say the increased labor costs have forced them to cut staff, eliminate work shifts and raise prices.
Many business owners said these changes were unintended consequences of the new minimum wage, which took effect at the beginning of the year.
In June, the city’s unemployment rate was 4.3%, compared with the state’s unemployment rate of 4%, according to the New York State Department of Labor. Both numbers have remained relatively steady during the past year.
New York City’s minimum wage has increased three times for employers with at least 11 employees in the past three years. At the end of 2016, the hourly rate rose to $11 from $9 an hour. In 2018, the minimum wage jumped to $13 from $11 an hour. The rate will increase to $15 an hour for employers with 10 or fewer workers at the end of 2019.
The current federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Other states have passed $15-minimum-wage legislation, including Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut.