Minimum wage hike will cut teen jobs

Posted on April 20, 2009

Teens seeking jobs will continue to find the search difficult as long as minimum wage mandates are in place. (“Suburban teens find tough adult competition,” April 12 Daily Herald).

Research from the University of Georgia in 2006 found that every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage was associated with a 4.6 to 9.0 percent decline in teenage employment in small businesses. This data bore out last summer as the 12 percent minimum wage hike corresponded with a 5 percent unemployment spike for teens. If historical and economic evidence are any guide, the number of jobless teens will continue to rise as we approach yet another minimum wage hike in July.

When entry-level job hunters are not able to find work, they lose more than just a paycheck. They are denied the “invisible curriculum” that comes with having a first job, including important skills like reporting to a supervisor and meeting deadlines. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of yet another misguided minimum wage hike will deny Illinois teens that opportunity this summer.

Tim Miller
Employment Policies Institute
Washington, D.C.