New Survey: Support for Wage Hike Crashes when Effects on Less-Skilled Jobseekers are Considered

Studies Show Past Increases in Minimum Wage Devastating for Young Adults
  • Publication Date: May 2012

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

WASHINGTON – A new survey commissioned from Opinion Research Corporation*, released today by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), finds that support for raising the minimum wage plummets when respondents are informed of the policy’s consequences.

81 percent of respondents said they somewhat or strongly support raising the minimum wage. However, when asked how many would support the wage increase if it would make it more difficult for low-skilled teens and adults to get hired, only 46 percent support the policy.

The results of the survey are available here:

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 from its current level of $7.25 (S. 2252). Eight states are also presently considering legislation to raise their minimum wage.

85 percent of the most credible studies on the subject from the last two decades find that raising the minimum wage causes job loss for the least-skilled employees. Economists from Miami and Trinity University found that the last increase in the federal minimum wage reduced teen employment by over 114,000.

“Our nation’s teen unemploment rate is still near 25 percent,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI. “Legislators should avoid policies that will further depress teen job prospects, depriving the country’s youth of the opportunity to gain important real-world experience.”

* Interviews with 1,007 adult Americans contacted by telephone on May 17-20, 2012. Poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation.