Los Angeles’ hourly minimum wage will drop from $15 to $16.04 on July 1, officials announced Thursday.
City wages are tied to the Consumer Price Index as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and have risen steadily over the past seven years following a push by city leaders to raise the hourly rate and fight against poverty.
The salary will apply to businesses of all sizes, according to the city’s website.
LA’s economic landscape in 2022 is much different than it was in 2015, the year city leaders voted for a series of escalating wage increases. High housing costs are fueling the city’s homelessness crisis, and inflation has made some goods more expensive.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who lobbied to raise the minimum wage in 2015, said Thursday that the wage increase set to take effect in July “is the last reason to celebrate today – and a reminder of how whose fight for better wages is far from over.”
Although local chambers of commerce often oppose minimum wage increases, some businesses accept them as necessary, given the high local cost of living for workers.
“I totally support its increase,” said Ben Berry, co-owner of four restaurants in the area, including two in the city, Good Day Thai Kitchen and Cafe and BKK 101 Thai Cuisine.
Berry said his restaurants already pay their 40 employees more than $16 an hour. Workers need higher wages, he said, to meet the region’s high housing costs.
And outside of any minimum wage ordinance, competition for labor is driving up wages in the city.
“That’s what the market demands,” he said. “If you’re in a high-demand area like downtown Los Angeles, you have to be competitive with your salary because people are just going to jump ship.”
But the public, Berry said, needs to “understand that this is why food prices are going up.”
Los Angeles Times