Loss for Economy

Posted on November 17, 2010

On Jan. 1, Washington’s minimum wage will increase for the 10th time in 11 years (“Washington state minimum wage to increase to $8.67,” Oct. 16). At $8.67, it will remain the highest state minimum wage.

With Washington teen unemployment already averaging 33.5 percent, it’s going to be even harder for youths to find an entry-level job.

Washington’s minimum wage is indexed to inflation, which means the cost to hire and train entry-level employees like teens rises almost every year. For labor-intensive businesses with low profit margins, like restaurants and grocery stores, even a seemingly small increase in labor costs can trigger unintended consequences.

Michael Saltsman, Research Fellow
Employment Policies Institute
Washington, D.C.