The Job Implications of the 2016 Election’s State Minimum Wage Initiatives
While proposals to raise the minimum wage are well intended, it is important to take into account the negative labor market consequences. Come November 8th, residents in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine will consider increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour. Proposals to raise the minimum wage often hurt those they intend to help by increasing joblessness among low-skilled workers, and failing to deliver income gains to those who actually need assistance.
The low-wage, low-skill workers who labor advocates want to help are the very workers who will bear this cost, as hundreds of thousands would be unable to maintain their current job or attain a new one. The evidence is all too clear. In 2015, for instance, major cities that began implementing minimum wage increases suffered substantial declines in restaurant employment growth. These consequences will likely not be any different in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, or Washington.