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« The Market for Eggs | Main | Skip Caray RIP »


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There are still thousands of high paying jobs posted on Employment sites -

If you want a job, there is a job for you.


The increases in the minimum wage has a great deal to do with why teenagers aren't working this summer. The sad part is that this isn't the first article to entirely miss it. (Ref: )

Some quick data points:

Going by CPS data from March 2007, representing figures for 2006, when the federal minimum wage was $5.15 per hour or $10,712 annually (assuming full time 2080 hours worked), roughly 50.3% of all people between the ages of 15 and 24 earned the minimum wage or less (the 50.3% comes from adding up all those making $10,000 or less and dividing by the total number of working individuals in the age range - the data isn't broken down more precisely for the $10,712 level).

In 2005, people aged 16-24 accounted for 53.3% of all people earning minimum wage (not just those in the age group!) Those aged 16-19 represent 26.1% of the total, while those aged 20-24 represent 27.2% of the total.

Now, here's the kicker from the July 2008 jobs report. Here we see that teen unemployment (Age 16-19) has risen during the course of this year from 15.8% in March 2008 to 18.7 in May (it dipped slightly to 18.1% in June), and now is up to 20.3% for July 2008, the month the minimum wage hike took effect.

Just looking at the seasonally adjusted figures, between March 2008 and July 2008, 969,000 more individuals in the civilian labor force are counted as unemployed. Between March 2008 and July 2008, 345,000 more individuals between ages 16 and 19 are unemployed, which represents over a third of the change in total unemployment (35.6%).

Why would the small businesses that predominantly hire teenagers at the minimum wage stop hiring or employing the least expensive members of their labor force? One would presume that with costs rising, business owners would seek to sustain the lowest cost labor they could.

Unless the lowest cost labor was becoming substantially more expensive. In today's economic environment, the lowest cost labor would appear to be too expensive to employ....


The minimum wage is a signal for and partial cause of inflation. But to say that because we take minimum wage increases at particular points in the cycle does not make it the cause, maybe just a correlated factor.

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