Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Higher minimum wages have been good for jobs in New England

August 28th, 2012 | Laura Clawson

Laura Clawson

Here’s one more study that opponents of raising the minimum wage will ignore when they argue that a minimum wage increase would slow job creation. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has looked at minimum wage rates and job creation across New England. Every state in New England has a different minimum wage, ranging from the federal rate of $7.25 in New Hampshire to a high of $8.46 in Vermont. And guess what? States that increased their minimum wages by more and had higher minimum wages did better, not worse, at keeping jobs during the recession and regaining them after the recession. That’s not to say that a higher minimum wage is the only explanation for those results:

Ultimately, a variety of factors affect job growth, and the recession has affected states in different ways. The different rates of employment loss and growth in New England states during this period was likely the result of a variety of factors, but the data do not provide any evidence that higher minimum wages prevent job growth.

This isn’t the first study that’s shown no negative effect, or even a positive outcome, of a higher minimum wage on employment. It won’t be the last. But since opponents of an above-poverty-level minimum wage are much more concerned with profit margins at Walmart and Taco Bell than with creating or losing jobs, the “higher minimum wage is a job-killer” canard isn’t going away any time soon.

(Via We Party Patriots)

This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on August 20, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

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