On the heels of a national report that painted a bleak employment picture for teens, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity issued a policy note today that shows that the Rhode Island General Assembly has made the teen jobs situation even worse in the Ocean State when it raised the state minimum wage by 35 cents to $7.75.
According to updated data made available to the Center from an earlier study(i) by nationally recognized economists, Rhode Island teens are projected to see 200 fewer jobs this year as a result of the minimum wage hike. This loss, 1% of teens employed in 2011, will hit especially hard on those who do not have high school degrees; this group is expected to suffer 75% of the anticipated loss.
Rhode Island’s teen unemployment rate in 2011 (28.3%) is already 3.4 percentage points higher than the national average of 24.9%. The minimum wage increase will make this discrepancy even worse.
The data, which will be part of a more comprehensive teen employment report the Center plans to release in July, is “yet another example of the death-by-a-thousand-cuts syndrome that is depressing our state’s growth,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. Continual small increases in taxes and regulations are often implemented for compassionate reasons, but it is the contention of the Center that the cumulative effect of these polices has been devastating for area businesses, for the state’s economy, and especially for those seeking work.
“Imagine that because of this minimum wage increase two hundred more Rhode Island teens are not going to have the chance to earn a paycheck, to learn important business skills, or to build their personal résumés,” concluded Stenhouse.(i) “Update of Evan and Macpherson, 2010.” Economists David Macpherson (Trinity University) and William Even (Miami University) released a study in 2010 that examined the impact of the federal minimum wage increase between 2007 and 2009. Media Coverage: 6/19/2012: Prov. Business News, Minimum Wage Bump Will Cost 200 Jobs 6/19/2012: GoLocalProv, Minimum Wage Hike Will Cost 200 Teen Jobs, Group Says