How $15-per-Hour Minimum Starting Wages Would Affect Each State

Researchers have paid little attention to the state-by-state impact of a $15-per-hour minimum wage. Such a measure was so far from the policy mainstream that few economists bothered considering it. Now, several cities and states have required $15-per-hour starting wages, prompting the need to consider the policy’s effects on jobs and the economy at large.

This Issue Brief fills the gap by estimating state-by-state job losses in each state under a $15-per-hour minimum wage. The policy would result in many states losing hundreds of thousands of jobs and would considerably curtail employment opportunities, especially for less-skilled workers. These findings show that the federal government should not impose a $15 minimum wage on states, and states should expect that adopting this policy would hurt many workers.

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