This week, the Washington Post discovered yet another indicator of a sagging economy; the national jobless rate for America’s youth is now the highest in six decades. The reporter takes 800 words to explore possible reasons for the sharp increase in youth unemployment. Still, she managed to miss something that might be relevant: almost a year ago, the government hiked the federal minimum wage. Now, I’m not certain of the exact count, but I think something like 456,000 studies have found that increases in the minimum wage lead to increased unemployment, especially among young and unskilled workers. See here and here, for example. The article also noted the four cities where youth unemployment is highest; DC, Chicago, Detroit and New York City. Over 80% of 16-19 year olds are unemployed in these cities. Hmmm…could these four cities have something in common that might be relevant? My gosh, look at this, all four have local minimum wage rates far higher than the federal rate. Now, that might have been an interesting tidbit to include in the story. See here for more on the minimum wage from Reason
Michael Flynn is Director of Government Affairs for the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank whose mission is to advance a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.