Missouri’s unemployment rate remains at a high 9.6 percent, and the state’s lawmakers should be commended for focusing on the creation of more entry-level jobs (“Missouri bill proposes lower minimum wage for teens,” February 23).
Decades of economic research demonstrate that a high minimum-wage environment leads to fewer job opportunities for less-experienced workers. Most recently, research out of Ball State University found that the 40 percent federal wage hike between July 2007 and July 2009 was responsible for 550,000 fewer part-time jobs.
Department of Education data shows that 27 million Americans lack the skills needed to fill out a job application. Yet, even the most basic restaurant or retail jobs require an ability to read and do basic math. A lower “training” wage makes it easier for employers to hire these less-experienced workers, giving them a chance to acquire the skills needed to move up in the workforce.
For these Missourians, starting at a lower wage is better than no wage at all.