August 2, 2008
Unemployment And The Minimum Wage
If a person didn't know better, he might think raising the minimum wage increased the unemployment rate.
The latest unemployment rate was 5.7% , or at or below where it was from December 2001 to January 2004. But for teens, it was 20.3% , or the highest such rate in at least 10 years.
My Congressman, Jerry Costello (D-IL), just sent me his mid-year update, addressed to "Postal Customer". In this update he stated,
"There is some good news. The Congress has enacted important legislation over the last year and half, including: The first minimum wage increase in a decade."
He also listed five other bullet points, but the minimum wage increase was number one.
This summer the minimum wage jumped from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour, on top of the increase from $5.15, where it had been since 1997, to $5.85 last summer . As it turns out, teenagers represented about half of all people making the minimum wage in 2007, and part-time workers represented more than half.
Totally coincidentally, I'm sure, teen unemployment rose from 15.4% in April to 20.8% in July. So not only was the latest rate the highest in 10 years, the jump from April to July was the highest 3-month increase in the last 10 years -- more the double the next-highest such increase. The overall unemployment rate rose from 5.0% in April to 5.7% in July, another 3-month increase high.
Thank goodness the new Democratic Congress is fixing our economy.