Monday, March 2, 2015

Wages up at restaurants

Yet another front page WSJ story about wage increases, this time in the restaurant industry.  Job growth in restaurants and bars had outpaced other sectors since the economy started to recover in 2009.  But wage growth stayed very flat until the last six months of 2014, when restaurant pay went up by 3%, twice as fast as a year ago.

The article cites the experience of Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis which raised wages to reduce the quit rate and attract stronger job candidates.  Apparently many of those who had been cooks and waiters while waiting for the job market to improve are now finding better opportunities outside of food service.  Part of the story also seems to be good old-fashioned supply and demand.  More people are eating out (restaurant spending was up 11% last year way more than any other sector), thus putting pressure on restaurants to expand staffing.  In some states the minimum wage has increased, putting additional upward pressure on pay.

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