Hold Off on Minimum Wage Celebration

You can expect some liberal populist triumphalism about the fact that, over the last six months, the 13 states that raised the minimum wage gained jobs faster than the states that didn’t.

It’d be great if that turned out to be true, always and forever.

But any celebrating now is premature.  Here’s why:

First, as the linked article notes, even the economists who support a higher minimum wage as a policy matter acknowledge that there’s no cause and effect, noting there are many possible reasons that certain states’ hiring might have quickened.

Second, six months is a pretty short snippet of time.  Indeed, a prominent study found that other studies that attempted to show that there was no adverse hiring impact on minimum wage hikes could do so only by using a certain statistical method — or looking (as here) at very short time periods.

Third, the real tragedy in our economy isn’t the amount of the minimum wage.  It’s that:

(1) An increasing percentage of jobs are only part-time (when lefties herald new jobs being “created,” they conveniently omit the fact that they’re not full-time) and

(2) The historically low participation in the labor market, with only 47.7% of adults working full-time; and

(3) Historic levels of long-term unemployment.

There are plenty of sobering realities behind the minimum wage happy talk, especially in Connecticut, where (despite improvement), unemployment figures exceed the national average.


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