When the supposed advantages of a hiking the minimum wage are outlined, one key disadvantage is always overlooked: it'll price entry-level workers, including a lot of teens who need summer jobs, out of the market.
Despite record low unemployment, the staffing firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which has prepared a report on summer employment for the Labor Department, expects summer employment for teens to be stagnant this summer, according to a column in Market Watch.
Market Watch columnist Jacob Passy notes all sorts of factors in this phenomenon (including that older workers who have better people skills being hired for hospitality jobs that formerly went to teens).
It is only near the bottom of the column that Passy gets to two man-made factors that deserve more attention: government regulations and minimum wage hikes. Passy writes:
State and local laws regarding employment and wages can also have a negative effect on teen workers. Nearly every state has some restriction on how late at night teenagers can work, so employers might not hire a high-school student if they need an evening shift covered.
And minimum wage hikes also may prevent young people from getting jobs by effectively pricing them out, because employers will want more skills for the money they pay their staff, according to findings from researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Summer jobs are more than a way to pick up money (as important as that is):
[T]eens could lose out big time though if they are unable to get work in these sorts of jobs, because they act as crucial learning opportunities to develop the sorts of skills employers want.
“Jobs that are customer-facing, those that require teens to interact with colleagues in an office setting or even lead children in summer activities, help develop skills that employers routinely seek in new hires,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in the company’s report.
The best job training program is an entry-level job.
Unfortunately, we're making it so expensive to hire young people who are just beginning their work lives that many will miss out on the formative experience of a summer job.