Is the minimum wage increase helping?

Yeah, don’t think so. So much for the increase in the minimum wage that happened in July. I’m NOT saying the increase in the federal minimum wage directly caused the problem, but the unemployment rate for the 16 – 24 age bracket now stands at 52.2 percent.

The government can’t just step into the free market and determine what a wage must be. I know it feels so damn good for liberals to cry out everyone must be able to earn a living wage – whatever that is – but come on, there is an economic impact.

When you raise the minimum wage in an already faulting economy, small businesses – especially those who hire teens and young adults – have some decisions to make.

Let’s say you own a small ice cream parlor who employs 12 kids part time. Not as many people came into your store this summer to buy their mid-afternoon or after dinner treat, and the federal government forced your payroll costs to increase more than 10.7 percent on July 24.

Maybe the government thinks you are making too much money and should give it to the employees? Maybe the government thinks you should raise your prices to spread out the additional expense to your customers? Or maybe just a combination of both?

Another option is to lay off one or two of your part-time employees and work longer hours yourself.

From the New York Post this morning.

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

The author of the article did not go out to interview the kids who got that 10 percent raise in July, so we don’t know how they feel about the situation.