Sixta León Barrita is desperately trying to find more work in New York City — but without much success. The 56-year-old resident of Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn is not alone.

Employers everywhere in the city are cutting back staff hours as the city raises the minimum wage, and as more workers are suffering.

León says the idea that the jobs market in New York City is strongly improved since the end of the Great Recession is a “lie.” A native of Mexico, León sees nothing but expanding labor hardship. She can now only find work cleaning homes for $100 daily, twice a week. Back in the day, after she immigrated to New York 27 years ago, her dreams were being fulfilled with plenty of steady, decently paid work in local factories, many of which are now gone.

León says it is a dire local jobs market. Her partner works at a local fruit vendor, packing and unloading. His employer recently raised hourly rates for its workers in line with the mandated minimum wage increases, but then immediately cut staff back from some 40 hours to 38 hours weekly to offset the costs. “The store basically said you have to take it or leave,” said León through an interpreter. “Many bosses are doing the same, cutting back on workers’ hours.”

Some economists say raising the minimum wage in New York City may backfire for the workers it is intended to help, and hurt a local business economy already reeling from high taxes, regulations and red tape.



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