by Eric Shannon
Washington Policy Center
October 04, 2012
For 10 years Washington has had one of the highest youth unemployment rates of any state. Washington also has had the nation’s highest minimum wage. Numerous studies show there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. Washington Policy Center has long recommended lawmakers allow employers to pay a training wage of 85% of minimum wage for young workers up to age 25. The law currently allows this temporary wage only for 14 and 15 year olds, but given Washington’s high unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds, it is obvious a much larger segment of young workers is in need of relief. It should be noted that this policy enjoys broad support. A time-limited training wage would expand youth employment by making it economical for employers to hire low-skill workers just entering the work force. The result would be more young adults being hired, and reducing the long-lasting “wage scarring” and other long-term consequences created by prolonged periods of unemployment for young workers.

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