Do you remember trying to find that first job? You’d be told you needed experience by an would-be employer, but no one would hire you so you could get the experience. Finally, a burger joint or a summer ice cream shop or a retailer would give you a chance, usually beginning at minimum wage.
At AEI, Mark J. Perry looks at the world of the minimum wage worker. Here are a few facts:
- While teens are the ones who typically earn minimum wage, they don’t stay there for long. In 2014, 85 percent of working teens earned above minimum wage.
- If a worker does not have a high school diploma, the chances that he/she will earn minimum wage are higher. The more educated a person is, the more he/she will earn.
- Being married typically means a person will earn more.
- Part-time workers are much more likely to earn minimum wage than full-time employees.
What can we glean from this? Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be jobs that sustain a person and his/her family. They are “stepping-stone” jobs. Perry:
The evidence seems clear that the minimum wage applies only to a very small group of young, inexperienced, single, part-time workers, with a lack of education. The path to higher wages includes staying in school, getting job experience, working full-time and getting married. Raising the minimum wage will make that path to higher wages more difficult, not easier, because it will price many younger, less-educated, less experienced workers out of the labor market — and will deny them the opportunity to work, gain experience, and gain the job skills they need that paves the path to higher wages.