The Wall Street Journal's Jason L. Riley reports on a new study from economists William Even and David Macpherson which suggests that recent increases in the minimum wage have injured the very groups those increases were supposed to help:
Minimum-wage proponents argue that a higher wage floor will improve the standard of living for poor families. The reality is that higher labor costs reduce employment, especially for younger workers, and the greatest amount of pain is felt by black men. The Even and Macpherson study finds that among whites males ages 16-24, each 10% increase in a federal or state minimum wage has decreased employment by 2.5%. For Hispanic males, the figure is 1.2%. "But among black males in this group, each 10% increase in the minimum wage has decreased employment by 6.5%."
The effect on the black community is so pronounced, write the authors, that "employment losses for 16-to-24 year-old black males between 2007 and 2010 could have been nearly 50% lower had the federal and state minimum wages remained at the January 2007 level."
It gets worse. Not all states were fully affected by the federal minimum wage increases because some already mandated a minimum wage above the federal requirement. But in the 21 states that were fully affected, about 13,200 black young adults lost their job as a direct result of the recession, versus 18,500 who lost their job as a result of the minimum-wage mandates. "In other words," write Messrs. Even and Macpherson, "the consequences of the minimum wage for this subgroup were more harmful than the consequences of the recession."
Read the whole story here. Watch Riley discuss immigration and the case for open borders with Reason.tv below.