Report: Impact of Minimum Wage Increase on Wisconsin Families

How Increasing the Minimum Wage Will Provide a Boost to the Wisconsin Economy
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February 24, 2014

A new report from COWS (Center on Wisconsin Strategy) analyzes the economic impact of a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour for Wisconsin workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016 would increase wages for over half a million Wisconsin workers. Additionally, as parents see wages go up, some 234,000 Wisconsin children will see family income rise as a result.

“Raising the minimum wage puts money in workers pockets and establishes a stronger standard for minimal work. It also would provide a modest boost to the economy,” stated Laura Dresser, COWS Associate Director, “In fact, the wage increases would boost economic activity by an estimated $517 million over the course of the increases. That growth would generate 3,800 jobs as businesses expand to meet the consumer demand.”

Of the 587,000 Wisconsin workers who would be affected by raising the wage to $10.10, 57 percent are women, 87 percent of workers are 20 years old or older, 47 percent of workers have at least some college education, 42 percent of workers work more than 35 hours per week, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) are in families with income under than $60,000.

Additionally, the report addresses the claim that increasing the minimum wage destroys jobs. Over the last twenty years, numerous studies have confirmed that minimum wage increases do not reduce overall employment levels. A letter signed by nearly 600 economists, including seven Nobel prize winners and eight past presidents of the American Economic Association, states that “the weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.”

“Increasing the minimum wage does not ‘kill jobs,” notes Dresser, “In fact, higher wages tend to lead to higher productivity and lower turnover. Workers are simply less likely to quit a job that pays more, thereby reducing hiring and training costs. And employees are more likely to invest in improving their job skills when they see a decent future ahead for themselves.”

Read the full report here: