labor

Reforming the Youth Minimum Wage

Unemployment among U.S teenagers now stands at 16 percent. Raising the minimum wage, as many are advocating, will only make the situation worse. This report argues instead that a lower, “youth minimum wage,” or YMW, would result in a substantial number of new jobs for young workers. This report uses the results of a number of studies of the effects of minimum-wage changes on various age groups to estimate the number of jobs that would be offered to young people by moving to a uniform, national youth minimum wage. The principal finding: if all states and the federal government adopted a youth minimum wage of $4.25 for whom anyone aged 16–19 would be eligible, with no 90-day limit, the growth rate of employment for this group could increase by up to 8.9 percentage points, generating up to 456,200 additional jobs in the first year following enactment.

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