Jul 23, 2014 | By: Lakeland PBS

New study found increasing minimum wages boosted job growth

Great news or great coincidence? Minnesota politicians are debating whether a recent study by the Department of Labor about increasing minimum wage boosting job growth is foreshadowing Minnesota’s future or too small of a study to tell.
State Representative John Ward (DFL) District 10A says, “It happened in the 13 states that this report reflects. [And] in Minnesota I hope that also happens as far as continuing to the great job growth that we’ve had over the last two years.”
State Senator Carrie Ruud (R) District 10 says, “I think it’s an apples and oranges study. And I think someone is just trying to use the numbers to prove something that they can’t prove with that. I mean, they don’t have the numbers.”
The study says the 13 states that increased their minimum wage in January on average saw the number of jobs grow an average of .24% higher from January to June compared to the other 37 states.
Ruud says, “Maybe it went up like .12%. And now because you’re saying you raised the minimum wage that you have a big job increase. And you really haven’t proven that in this report at all.”
Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce CEO, Matt Killian, says, “You have to wonder is the job growth coming because we’re raising those wages. Or [are] other factors contributing to it. There’s people spending money again, people making money again and all of those things are very good for the economy regardless of if we raise the wage or not. “
The study also mentioned that 12 of the 13 states saw job growth during the first half of the year. They only state that increased their minimum wage and didn’t grow was Vermont and their employment stayed flat.
Ward says, “One of the things that I read during the debate during the last session, previously when we raise the minimum wage we heard the concern that there will be job losses. And what had happened, the data that I looked at, indicated again just the opposite that there was an increase in job growth.”
Something both sides agreed on was they like’d to see Minnesota continue creating new jobs.

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