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Report: $15 Minimum Wage Would Cause State to Lose 200,000 Jobs

By Staff


McDonaldsA Nov. 5 report released by The Empire Center for Public Policy and the American Action Forum found raising New York’s minimum wage to $15 per hour would cause the state to lose roughly between 200,000 and 500,000 jobs.

The report examined the employment and earnings effects of raising New York’s statewide minimum wage, a cause championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, “to $12 per hour and to $15 per hour, respectively, by 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state.”

“While a minimum wage hike would benefit some workers by increasing their earnings, it would also hurt hundreds of thousands of others whose earnings would sink because they could no longer find or keep a job,” the report stated.

New York’s current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour, and, under Gov. Cuomo’s recent minimum-wage initiative, minimum wage will increase for fast-food workers to $15 per hour, over a period of several years.

“Advocates of such a policy believe that low-income workers will be its primary beneficiaries,” the report stated. “This paper, however, suggests that the poorest New Yorkers would have the most to lose from a sharp rise in the government-mandated wage floor.”

According to the report, less than seven percent of the wages generated by a $15 wage, and less than six percent of the wages generated by a $12 wage, would actually go to households in poverty.

And, “In a prolonged period of slow economic growth, the potential loss of at least 200,000 jobs would be an extreme and unacceptable tradeoff,” the report said.

The Empire Center is a conservative think tank based in Albany; the American Action Forum is a policy agency based in Washington, D.C.