The Effects of the Minimum Wage Increase on the Restaurant Industry

March 23, 1999 Download PDF

Executive Summary

Policy analysts at the Oregon Center for Public Policy examined economic data to ascertain the impacts of the 1997 and 1998 minimum wage increases on the restaurant industry and retail trade sectors of the economy. Because the restaurant industry comprises 37 percent of the retail trade employment in the state, retail trade data are used to understand the health of the restaurant industry when restaurant industry specific data are not available.

The analysis demonstrates that the Oregon restaurant industry has continued to perform well under the 1997 and 1998 minimum wage increases, and is expected to perform well under the 1999 increase. The data also dispel concerns that the increase in the minimum wage has and will continue to harm those low wage workers intended to receive the benefits of the increases.

State, federal, and the restaurant industry's own data reveal that: