NFIB Says Teen Rally Should Focus on Minimum Wage

Date: February 20, 2014

Boston (February 20, 2014) – Lawmakers and administration officials preparing to greet teenagers from around the state today who want more money for jobs programs should also consider whether the heavy minimum wage hike they’re considering will exacerbate the problem, said National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“The teenage unemployment rate in Massachusetts is three times the national average, which makes it a crisis by any standard,” said NFIB State Director Bill Vernon.  “Raising the minimum wage makes it harder for small businesses to hire teenagers and the jobs programs that they’ll be talking about today won’t fix that problem.” 

Lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2015, an increase of 37.5 percent, and an automatic increase every year thereafter based on inflation.  That, said Vernon, will price inexperienced teenagers out of the labor market.

“Small businesses are not going to pay teenagers as much as they pay older workers with more maturity and higher skills,” he said.  “The bottom line is that there are some jobs in the economy that are made for young, entry-level workers.  Those are the jobs that teenagers need to break into the labor force, gain experience and make money.  And those are the jobs that will disappear as the result of a massive increase in the minimum wage.”

Vernon said that many small businesses in Massachusetts rely on entry-level labor and they’ll be harmed as well.

“What the advocates are trying to do is impose industrial wages on small retail businesses and that just can’t work,” he said.  “Some small businesses need entry-level workers as much as the workers need those jobs.  This will make it hard for both groups to remain competitive.”

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