Managers should cheer a $2.10 increase in the federal minimum raise—the first jump in almost a decade. It’s not just because the wage will help lift people from being among the working poor, to at least within striking distance of making ends meet. The real benefit is what it may do to those work places that rely on a constant flow of poorly paid workers.

First, it might force employers to hire fewer people but train them better, leading to greater overall productivity. Higher wages and investment are also likely to lead to happier employees, lower turnover and—ultimately—lower costs than getting labor on the cheap.

So I would brush off the fear-mongering of the National Restaurant Association, which predicts fewer jobs for entry workers because of the move. Smart employers will figure out a way to spread responsibilities and trim elsewhere to make sure that the most important assets they have—human beings—improve in value, rather the understandable instinct of underpaid workers to head for the door.

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