Raising minimum wage to $15 in Ohio would kill jobs, study shows

A new study released by the Ohio Restaurant Association today shows that proposed legislation to increase Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15 per hour would eliminate more than 2,500 jobs — over half of which are held by women.

The study, authored by William Even of Miami University and Dr. David Macpherson of Trinity University, outlined the negative impact of a proposal being reviewed by the Cleveland City Council to increase the minimum wage by 85 percent to $15 per hour will have on the city’s employment.

“As Ohio’s economy continues to grow, now is not the time to prevent hiring and squeeze business owners already operating on thin profit margins,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, said in a release. “We should all be focusing on commonsense solutions that create more jobs and promote opportunities for Ohioans of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. This study shows that dramatic wage mandates will hurt those who need help the most.”

The federal hourly minimum wage is $7.25. In Ohio it is $8.10. Last year, minimum wage hikes were introduced in Congress. One proposes an increase to $12, the other to $15.

The study found that the bulk of job losses would be concentrated among individuals with a high school degree or less.

Also, while many industries would be impacted negatively if the starting wage were increased, three sectors, according to the study, would be hit the hardest: retail trade, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services, and healthcare.

“What is bad for Cleveland’s restaurants is bad for Cleveland and Ohio,” said Barker. “Restaurants are the pulse of our communities, bringing Ohioans together with their friends, families and neighbors every day. They’re also some of our communities’ most stable employers. There are 21,921 restaurant locations currently employing 557,200 Ohioans. That’s 10 percent of our state’s workforce and we want to continue fueling the improvement in our state’s economy by adding locations and providing opportunities for jobseekers.”

Many economists have said a jump to $15 an hour is too high.

“I favor raising the minimum wage, but I think $15 an hour is a bridge too far,” Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., told Cleveland.com