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Minimum wage increase will hurt

The news that Minnesota’s House of Representatives plans to increase the state’s minimum wage by almost 30 percent to $9.38 is cause for concern, not celebration. The proposal may appear beneficial, but the actual effects of such a hike will be fewer opportunities for less-skilled jobseekers in a state where nearly 20 percent of them already can’t find work. (“Business leaders prepare for DFL,” Jan. 10)

Businesses that hire entry-level employees and pay them minimum wage — restaurants or grocery stores, for example — keep 2-3 cents in profit from each sales dollar and can’t just absorb the increase. Raising prices on cost-conscious customers typically isn’t an option, either, because sales fall as a result. Businesses are instead forced to provide the same service at a lower cost — that means more self-service and fewer job opportunities for the same people the Legislature wants to help.

The evidence backs up the intuition: Eighty-five percent of the most credible economic research on the minimum wage from the last two decades points to job loss following a wage hike.

 

Michael Saltsman

research director

Employment Policies Institute

Washington