As part of his campaign to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, President Obama has assured Americans that there’s “no solid evidence” that a hike will cost jobs. Similarly, his chief economist told the press recently that “zero” was a reasonable estimate for the effect of a wage hike on employment.
These claims have always been factually questionable. One summary of the best studies on this subject since the early 1990s found that 85 percent of the research points to job losses after a minimum wage increase. The fact-checker at the Washington Post referenced this in the paper’s evaluation of the President’s “solid evidence” claim, and subsequently awarded him two “Pinocchios” for misleading rhetoric. Similarly, the Congressional Budget Office relied on this research consensus in its estimate that a $10.10 minimum wage would cause job loss.
Now comes a new survey from staffing firm Express Employment Professionals (EPP) of employers who will be directly affected by the wage hike to $10.10. (This is a major improvement over an earlier survey from a left-wing advocacy group that included very few directly affected employers.) The EPP survey found that 38 percent of these employers would be forced to let staff members go to cover the cost. Another 54 percent said they would reduce future hiring.
In other words, politicians inclined to support a higher minimum wage shouldn’t assume the policy comes without a cost for the least-skilled and least-experienced employees.