Do Minimum Wage Laws Increase Unemployment?

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The current minimum wage, as set by federal law, is less than $15 per hour. Is this enough for any person to provide for themselves and their family? Laborers earning the minimum wage don't seem to think so and are wanting an increase in the required minimum wage so they will be paid more by their employers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that 3.6 million workers earned below or at the minimum wage ("Minimum Wage Workers"). At first it sounds wonderful for minimum wage workers to earn extra money and be able to make a better living, but what impact does an increase to the federal minimum wage have on the economy?

Citizens of the US in 1912 were concerned about employers turning their jobs into sweatshops by underpaying them for their labor services. It was important to the citizenry that a set standard for living be created through legislation. In 1912, states began creating their own minimum wage laws as a response, and by 1938 twenty-five states had some form of minimum wage laws in place ("Minimum Wage"). The federally regulated minimum wage was established per the Fair Labor Standards Act by the Roosevelt administration. This was but one part of the act and mandated every employer must pay their workers a federally set minimum amount for their labor services. In 1938, the minimum wage was set to $0.25 per hour. States were given the ability to set their own minimum wage laws as well. If the state regulated minimum wage exceeds the amount set by the federal government, then the state's legislation is applied for the citizens of that state.

Like most economic policies there are many concerns over the effects of what happens when the minimum wage is raised, inflation being one of the many...

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...e, all having influence on one another and changing because of one amended piece of legislation. The challenge becomes responsibly weighing the various effects of the change and making the best informed decision we can as a nation.

Works Cited

Mankiw, Gregory. Principles of Macroeconomics. 6th Ed. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

"Minimum Wage." Gale Encyclopedia of American Law. Ed. Donna Batten. 3rd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 82-85. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 18 Aug. 2015.

"Minimum Wage Workers Account for 4.7 Percent of Hourly Paid Workers in 2014." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Schmitt, John. Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? Rep. Center for Economic and Policy Research, 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.
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