Chicago City Council Should Ask Santa Fe Mayor Why Job Growth in His City Is at Four-Year Low

New Mexico Department of Labor report shows Santa Fe job growth lags behind rest of state
  • Publication Date: August 2006

  • Topics: Living Wage

Washingon, D.C.– The Chicago City Council is flying the mayor of Santa Fe into Chicago today for an emergency meeting in support of the city’s “Big Box” mandate. However, Santa Fe is no economic role model but rather a cautionary tale of dismal job growth following their own living wage ordinance.

A newly released New Mexico Department of Labor report shows that job creation in Santa Fe has reached a four-year low and is lagging behind the rest of the state. This government labor report bolsters previously released research commissioned by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) on the impact of Santa Fe’s living wage ordinance, which showed a 16 percent increase in the unemployment rate and an alarming loss of 540 jobs following the mandate.

The New Mexico labor department report showed that “leisure and hospitality” and “retail”—sectors historically most affected by mandated wage ordinances—were two of the three industries in Santa Fe that experienced a decline in job creation.

The EPI-commissioned study conducted by Dr. Aaron Yelowitz, economist at the University of Kentucky, revealed that Santa Fe’s least educated residents—those with 12 or fewer years of education—suffered nearly all the job losses. The study also found that the low-skilled adults who didn’t lose their job still ended up working fewer hours than before; those with 12 years or fewer of education saw their hours reduced by an average of 3.2 hours per week following the increase.

“It’s fortuitous that the mayor of Santa Fe is in Chicago today to discuss the downturn in his city’s economy following their living wage ordinance,” said Mike Flynn, EPI’s director of legislative affairs. “The negative impact on job creation in Santa Fe is a cautionary tale for Chicago and other cities that might consider instituting their own living wage ordinances.”