An ordinance soon to be introduced in the City Council is expected to require 87 large hotels to pay a $15.37-an-hour “living wage,” nearly double California’s current $8-an-hour minimum.
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollments in America’s major public benefits programs are from working families. But many of them work in jobs that pay wages so low that their paychecks do not generate enough income to provide for life’s basic necessities.
That figure made headlines last month after researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, reported that front-line workers at fast-food restaurants, and their families, receive at least $7 billion a year in public benefits to supplement their wages—typically, under $9 an hour. The authors described the amount as “”the public cost of low-wage jobs in the fast-food industry.
Other researchers dispute that interpretation. They say the cost to the public would be higher without those jobs. And if fast-food restaurants raised their wages, that wouldn’t guarantee a corresponding decline in benefits: Some restaurants might automate functions and cut jobs, and some benefits remain available to workers making higher salaries.
Real spending on travel and tourism decelerated in the second quarter of 2013, increasing at an annual rate of 2.5 percent after increasing 7.3 percent (revised) in the first quarter of 2013. By comparison, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated, increasing 2.5 percent (second estimate) in the second quarter after increasing 1.1 percent in the first quarter.