Today’s jobs report confirms much of what we already know: Workers are finding employment at a steady but unspectacular rate, private-sector job creation is good but not great, hours worked are ever so slowly ticking up and wage increases are pretty much nonexistent.
This got me thinking about the push to increase minimum hourly wages and the demands for a $15 national floor. Although the national $15 minimum probably will go nowhere, given the opposition it faces, there’s been lot of movement at the state and local levels as the table below indicates.
As we can see, plenty of areas either already do or will soon pay a good deal more than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Some municipalities and employers have adopted wage increases, often phased in over several years, because they believe it’s a matter of fairness or that social justice demands it. That’s fine, as far as it goes. However, more and more businesses have a different perspective: a tightening job market is making it harder to attract and retain quality employees, so raising minimum pay is often simply a practical matter. Limiting costly employee turnover and keeping your best workers makes good business sense.
All of this gives us the opportunity to watch a great economic experiment unfold before our eyes. It might help us answer questions about whether minimum wages cost jobs, hurt profits and crimp economic growth.
Continues at: We’ll Find Out Soon If Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs
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