Walter Williams’ Dec. 20 column, “Minimum wage laws shortchange youths,” acknowledges the troubles teens face in the job market this year. A study out of Stanford University found that those who as youths experienced especially long periods of unemployment were particularly prone to negative long-term effects on future wages and employment. And research from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that unemployment for teens continues to adversely affect earnings for as long as 10 years.
Not having a job takes more than just money away from teens. Those who are priced out of the job market by high minimum wages also are deprived of the “invisible curriculum” that comes from learning how to report to a supervisor, show up on time and work with others as part of a team.
State and federal lawmakers should recognize that “feel-good” wage hikes hurt vulnerable workers such as teens, and they will feel the negative impact for years to come.
Kristen Lopez Eastlick
Senior economic analyst
Employment Policies Institute 1090 Vermont Ave. N.W.
No. 800, Washington, D.C.