Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > A minimum wage increase will help, not hurt, Vermont

A minimum wage increase will help, not hurt, Vermont

“The vast majority of the most rigorous modern research on the impact of higher minimum wages—including robust increases to $13 or more—shows that these policies boost worker earnings with little to no adverse impact on employment.” Testimony to the Minimum Wage Study Committee from Yannet Lathrop of the National Employment Law Project on November 21, 2017.

In other words, there is no credible evidence that minimum wage increases cause significant job loss.

The final report released by the committee last month deferred to the Legislature’s standing committees on the critical question of when a $15/hour minimum wage should take effect because of a number of unresolved issues, including the concern about job loss. The report discusses in detail the anticipated job losses for various scenarios.

Even in the most aggressive scenario of a $15 minimum wage taking effect by 2022, the estimated job loss noted in the report is small—less than one percent of total jobs and a fraction of the typical annual job market churn in Vermont. In any given year, there are jobs added and jobs lost. Public Assets’ November jobs brief shows that Vermont added about 22,000 jobs and lost about 21,000 between March 2016 and March 2017. This annual churn is a small part of the more than 300,000 total jobs that don’t change in Vermont.

And keep in mind that lost jobs don’t equate to unemployed workers. Vermont’s unemployment rate has been lower than that of the U.S. for over a decade, hovering around 3 percent throughout 2017. That means people who lose their jobs are likely to find new ones, and those new jobs are going to pay more.

Increasing the minimum wage will put an additional $240 million in the pockets of Vermont workers, who will spend it in the Vermont economy. We shouldn’t let misplaced concerns about possible small job losses derail that progress.





Posted by Stephanie Yu on January 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

2 Responses to “A minimum wage increase will help, not hurt, Vermont”

  1. Peter hubbard says:

    For every action there’s an opposite and equal reaction. You did’ comment on the effect to the businesses operating costs.
    Higher wages means increases in tax withholdings, (fed,state, unemployment, local) workers compensation, costs for increased sales or increases in the cost of goods sold. Costs for increased productivity. Increased inflation will help.

  2. Dick Tracy says:

    I strongly disagree. There is abundant evidence that minimum wage laws have many deleterious affects on the economy as a whole, and on the entry level workers such laws pretend to help. Among other things they eliminate entry level jobs because employers are incentivized to automate. Consider all the auto cashier stations at supermarkets, for example. Those used to be live cashier jobs. MacDonald’s is installing self-order kiosks in some markets. I know this, because I used one in Danbury, CT. Well known BLACK economists such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have produced several essays about the overall adverse effects of minimum wage, and in particular on people of color.

    As for the assertion that increasing the minimum wage will put an additional $240 million in the pockets of Vermont workers, where do you suppose that money will come from? The employers? Of course not. That cost will be passed on to consumers, thereby making products & services more expensive to everyone, including minimum wage earners.