Jan 5, 2024 - News

Wage growth slows for San Antonio restaurant workers

Data: Square; Note: Earnings include base wages, tips and overtime; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Square; Note: Earnings include base wages, tips and overtime; Chart: Axios Visuals

Restaurant workers' wage growth in San Antonio has slipped considerably since the peak of COVID-19, falling below even some pre-pandemic rates.

Why it matters: It's a sign restaurants are no longer as desperate for workers as they were during the late pandemic era, when many struggled to replace employees who left for other fields during the related slowdown.

  • It's also a reflection of inflation's impact on restaurants and consumers.

By the numbers: Year-over-year wage growth for San Antonio restaurant workers fell to 2.9% in October, from 4.3% in September, per Square's third-quarter industry report.

  • Wages saw the most growth in March 2021, increasing 12.8% — that's about the time many of us were finally vaccinated against COVID and were stepping out to dine once again.
  • In January 2018, year-over-year wage growth was 10%.
  • Square's calculation includes base wages, tips and overtime.

The big picture: San Antonio mirrors the national trend.

  • Restaurant workers' wages grew 4.9% year over year nationwide in October 2023.

Be smart: Wage growth is best considered alongside inflation — if your wage grows 3% but so does inflation, your wage didn't increase.

The bottom line: Discretionary spending on dining is often the first thing to go when times get a little tougher — and tips may be shrinking, especially amid "tipping fatigue."

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