"Why Is New York Full Of Empty Stores?"
That's the question posed by the New York Times editorial board in today's paper, as it worries about a "scourge of store closings that afflicts one section of the city after another, notably in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn."
The editorial offers few answers to its question and at least one bad solution in the form of a new "vacancy tax" for building owners with unoccupied storefronts. But perhaps the most notable omission from the Times' editorial is the board's own role in exacerbating the city's troubles through its advocacy for a $15 minimum wage.
The concerns about retail employment aren't anecdotal: According to Labor Department data, 2016 was the first year since 2009 where New York City's retail trade experienced a decline in year-over-year employment growth. Current data suggest that the 2017 decline in retail employment will be even worse. The restaurant industry in the city has suffered a similar fate: In both the full-service and limited-service sectors, average employment growth is less than half its 2015 average.
What happened? For starters, the state of New York embarked on an unprecedented experiment in raising the minimum wage. At the start of 2016, the city's tipped minimum wage increased by 50 percent, and the minimum wage for fast food workers jumped by nearly 17 percent to $10.50. At the start of 2017, the wage floor rose higher to $12 an hour, and the minimum wage for all businesses in the city rose by 22 percent to $11 an hour.
The complete story here > New York City's Empty Storefronts And The $15 Minimum Wage