To the editor:
On April 27, Graham Kreicker wrote that minimum wage laws don't cause job loss. To dispel such conventional foolishness, look at employment facts in the Statistical Abstract of the United States (www.bls.gov/cps/), and use a little common sense.
There are roughly 1.7 million minimum-wage workers in the United States. They are mostly young, inexperienced, part-time employees; 83.9 percent of all minimum-wage workers are under the age of 25; 61.1 percent are part-time employees. Only 1.1 percent of all full-time workers earn the minimum wage. Kids are the least experienced and the least reliable part-time workers. That's why the unemployment rate is highest among young workers 16-19 years old (15.4 percent), and declines with age. Among teenagers, the unemployment rate is 13.2 percent among whites, 29.1 percent among blacks, 14 percent among Asians, and 15.9 percent among Hispanics.
Increasing the minimum wage rate makes it more difficult for employers to justify training costs necessary to make kids useful workers, and eliminating low-wage job opportunities prevents lots of kids from gaining valuable job skills. You do not reduce poverty by getting teenagers and other part-time workers fired or never hired in the first place. Kids need low-wage job opportunities, better basic education, training, and the working experience that will make them high-wage workers. Enlightened economic policy focuses on ways to help workers earn maximum wages, not minimum wages.