According to a new analysis, if the federal minimum wage had grown at the same pace as increases in worker productivity, it would be nearly $19 an hour in 2016. Meanwhile, business groups argue that raising the wage could lead to job loss, especially in the midwest and south. David Cooper, with the Economic Policy Institute, says he doesn’t believe increasing the minimum wage would lead to job losses, as some business groups say.
“The effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment is probably the most studied topic in all of labor economics,” Cooper said. “Modest increases in the minimum wage have little to no effect on employment, I mean, that debate is basically settled.”
Cooper says raising the wage floor also helps middle-class workers get paid more, and has a positive impact on local economies. The Democratic party has made a $15 an hour minimum wage part of its platform, while Republican candidate Donald Trump has also signaled support for increasing the wage.