Households in the Los Angeles metro region paid $7.2 billion for packages from Amazon.com in 2018. Less publicly visible was more than $790 million paid out in public subsidies and uncompensated public costs that supported Amazon’s profitability. It is time for Amazon to come of age and pay its own way. This means paying its full costs to the communities that host it and the workers who create its profits.
Over 54,000 workers employed in Long Beach’s formal economy will be affected by increasing the minimum wage to $15. The annual earnings of workers will increase by about $405 million. The largest share of increased wages—almost $130 million—will go to workers who also live in the City of Long Beach The greatest number of affected workers and the largest payroll increases will be in restaurants, retail trade, education, transportation and warehousing, and health care. The economic stimulus from increased consumption by workers' households will create an estimated 3,186 new jobs and generate $442 million in increased sales in the region.
Raising L.A.'s minimum wage to $15.25 per hour will put $5.9 billion new dollars into the pockets of workers and families, and provide stimulus benefits for under-invested communities. Paying fair wages is an adjustment for some businesses, but the result is a bigger, more sustainable, and more inclusive economy for Los Angeles.
America has lost ground on the intent declared by Congress when the Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted in 1938, that workers will receive wages sufficient to maintain "the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being." The federal minimum wage had the greatest value in 1968. Set at $1.60 an hour, it had a value of $10.51 in 2012 dollars. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth 31 percent less. This wage attrition is part of most people's everyday experience. Three-quarters of the full-time labor force residing in the City of Los Angeles earn less than comparable workers 30 years ago.