Everyone knows that people in the banking, real-estate, and retail industries are likely to be looking for work these days. But the newest profession to fall victim to the recession? Child care.
A columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle is balking at the high cost of finding a competent babysitter so she can enjoy a night out with her husband:
It wasn’t so long ago that San Francisco-based babysitters were requesting — and I presume getting — a pretty astounding hourly wage. My “favorite” was a college student who said she expected $25 per hour, three hours minimum, plus cab fare to and from the job. Holding back wild laughter, I said thank you but that is more than what I was willing to pay. Her response was a terse, “well, you get what you pay for, lady.” …
Using the more “reasonable” $20 per hour model, this is what it would cost for a typical pre-recession evening:
- Sitter from 7 to 11 = $80 (scratch that — $90 with tip)
- Before dinner drinks (one each, plus tip) = $25
- Moderately priced meal for two = $100
- Cab ride home = $15
- Total cost: $230
That was a daunting sum for a simple night out. And because of it, we cut back. So…the bars, restaurants, and cab drivers lost too.
This simple real-world economics lesson shows how a prohibitively high cost of labor can cause a domino effect of cutbacks across the board. (As well as how an entrepreneurial babysitter might be able to corner the San Francisco market by charging a still-respectable $15 per hour!)