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National Restaurant Association - NRA’s Sweeney: Don’t make it harder to hire employees

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NRA’s Sweeney: Don’t make it harder to hire employees

Congress’s recently proposed increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would be detrimental to job growth, the National Restaurant Association’s president and chief executive wrote in an editorial for The Hill newspaper.

“The economy is still recovering, job growth still lags, consumers and businesses have tepid confidence and are bracing for the effects of rising food, fuel and health insurance prices,” Sweeney wrote in the March 19 edition of the publication. “The last thing policymakers should consider right now is measures that make it even more difficult for businesses to hire employees or increase workers’ hours.”

She cautioned Congress that a dramatic increase in wage rates would hurt teen employment in particular.

“Our industry is the largest employer of teens in the nation, employing nearly one-third of all teen workers,” she wrote. “Teenage unemployment stands at 24 percent right now. The dramatic increase proposed in the minimum wage, coupled with the effects of rising costs, could put serious pressure on this in the wrong direction.”

The NRA chief stressed that the restaurant industry is proud to give many Americans their first employment opportunities.

“The restaurant industry gives many workers their first opportunity,” she stated. “These are young employees who, like many of us, are trained to enter the workforce thanks to the patience and job skills taught by our very first bosses. Through the recent economic difficulties, the industry has worked to create many jobs, at a much higher rate than the economy as a whole. Growth in earnings of nonsupervisory workers in the industry outpaced overall private sector wages last year by 37 percent, and industry wage growth exceeded the overall economy six of the last seven years.

“We are proud of these facts.”

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