Low Wage Better Than No Wage

Posted on March 09, 2010

In response to Alana Arbuthnot’s Feb. 28 column, “Under-22 cut illogical move.”)

Arizona’s unemployment rate remains at a high 9.1 percent and the state’s lawmakers should be commended for focusing on the creation of more entry-level jobs.
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 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 Arizonans, starting at a lower wage is better than no wage at all.

Michael Saltsman
Research Fellow
Employment Policies Institute