Bernie Sanders’ $17 Minimum Wage Proposal Could Cost Up to 1.7M Jobs

New Employment Policies Institute Study Released Ahead of Expected July Introduction of New $17 Minimum Wage Bill
  • Publication Date: July 2023

Arlington, Va. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute released a new report detailing the estimated job loss impacts of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposed $17 federal minimum wage bill, which he is expected to introduce in July. The report finds that a $17 regular minimum wage would result in over 1.2 million jobs lost across the country, and further eliminating the federal tip credit would slash another 447,000 jobs.

The analysis, conducted by economists Drs. William Even (Miami University) and David Macpherson (Trinity University), utilizes nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office methods to estimate future employment trends and the impact of Sanders’ proposal.

This is a first-of-its-kind analysis for Sanders’ new proposal for a $17 federal minimum wage that provides an in-depth look at state-level impacts and the harmful effects of tip credit elimination on employment.

Key national findings include:

  • 62% of losses will be jobs held by women
  • 63% of losses will be jobs held by 16-24 year olds
  • 60% of losses will be jobs in the hospitality industry, including restaurants and bars

States with the highest incurred losses include: Texas (up to 337,088 jobs lost), Pennsylvania (up to 130,059 jobs lost), North Carolina (up to 98,316 jobs lost), Georgia (up to 97,375 jobs lost), and Indiana (up to 76,998 jobs lost).

For a full state-by-state breakdown, see the full report here. For more information on how tip credits work and past experiments with tip credit elimination, see our tip credit primer here.

Commenting on the findings, Employment Policies Institute’s research director Rebekah Paxton said:

“Economists over the last three decades have warned of the devastating job loss consequences of increasingly drastic minimum wage hikes. Sanders’ ill-conceived plan for $15 was shot down by a bipartisan group of senators in 2021, but it appears he and his Big Labor allies have not learned from their mistakes. Sanders’ new wage bill is so radical that he’s even struggling to get Democratic support for the proposal.”