Increased minimum wage equals decreased teen jobs

March 6, 2010

The increase in California’s minimum wage may have come at the expense of teen employment, according to some economists. [Daily Bulletin]

Minimum wage in California has increased roughly 18 percent since 2005, but the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) claims the result has been fewer working hours for teens, or lost job opportunities altogether.

“California is still in the midst of a teen employment depression,” said Institute research fellow Michael Saltsman. “The unintended consequence of our legislators’ good intentions is an increase in the cost to hire and train people who are younger and less experienced.”

Because of the current recession, Saltsman argued, there are a lot more skilled people willing to take jobs that pay less.

The current state minimum wage of $8 per hour went into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

The EPI report suggests that other mechanisms, such as a proposed expansion of the Earned Income Tax credit, would be more effective in lifting more people out of poverty.