Low Pay Is Better Than No Pay

Posted on February 28, 2010

Missouri’s unemployment rate remains at a high 9.6 percent. The state’s lawmakers should be commended for focusing on the creation of more entry-level jobs (“For the kids,” Feb. 21).

Decades of research demonstrates that a high minimum wage leads to fewer job opportunities for less-experienced workers. 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 show 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.

Michael Saltsman — Washington, D.C. Employment Policies Institute