Minimum Wage — Does It Kill Jobs?

Not it Sweden

  According to conservative "economics" raising the minimum wage causes unemployment and the US should cut its $7.25 minimum wage to something much lower. But Sweden being a so-called "socialist" country has minimum wage of about $19/hour. So, let's see, Sweden's unemployment rate is 7.5% while the US unemployment rate is 8.6%. So more than doubling the minimum wage is, hmmm catastrophic?

From the LA Times (4/10/11).  Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big difference is that the Europeans [Swedes] enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days — eight of them on dates determined by the company.

What's more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said.


Complexities

  Of course, there is a downside to raising the minimum wage. Companies hire somewhat fewer workers when they cost more. On the other hand, a higher wage may mean that some families don't need two full-time jobs, so that may make more jobs available. On balance, the minimum wage in the U.S. has done more good than harm.