We’ll be releasing a policy brief on this issue next week. But I think this slide that Kriss prepared for today’s meeting of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers is highly consistent with national studies showing that minimum wage hikes negatively affect teenage unemployment.
In 2013, the overall unemployment rate for Washington was 7.0 percent; well below the U.S. rate of 7.4 percent. As the slide shows, in every age category but one, Washington’s unemployment rate stayed below the U.S. average. But in the 16 – 19 age group, Washington’s 30.6 percent unemployment rate is 7.7 percentage points higher than the U.S. average of 22.9 percent. It’s also worth mentioning that we’re just barely below the U.S. average in the 20-24 year old age group.
While other labor policies here doubtless play a role, having the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage must be considered a dominant factor.