Minimum wage hike hurts Missouri’s teens

With Missouri’s recently announced minimum wage hike, it becomes the 10th state to set a wage higher than the federal level for 2013 (“Missouri minimum wage will rise 10 cents to $7.35,” Nov. 13). That’s bad news for Missouri’s teens, who already face the ninth highest unemployment rate in the country and will now have even more trouble finding job opportunities.

It’s not difficult to understand why: Businesses that hire entry-level employees and pay them the minimum wage — think restaurants or grocery stores — keep a few cents in profit from each sales dollar and can’t just absorb the cost of a mandated wage hike. When they can’t raise prices on cost-conscious customers, they’re forced to do more with less: that means more customer self-service and fewer job opportunities for the least-experienced employees — including teens.

The evidence overwhelmingly backs up this intuition: 85 percent of the most credible economic research from the last two decades points to job loss following a wage hike.