Dispatches > In Brief

In Brief

"In Brief" Continued...

Issue: "Mounting a defense," May 25, 2002

Waging war on common sense

Liberals and labor unions supporting so-called living-wage laws claim that requiring companies to pay a "living wage" would help the low-skilled poor. But a University of New Hampshire survey of U.S. labor economists showed that most people who study employment policy agree that local living-wage laws would displace-not help-lower-skilled workers. A "living wage" is an hourly pay rate scaled to the cost of living in a particular area. Such wages are almost always significantly higher than state and federally mandated minimum-wage rates. The UNH study revealed that nearly eight in 10 labor economists (79 percent) believe that a typical living-wage law, applied locally, would cause employers to hire entry-level employees with greater skills or experience than the applicants they previously hired. Seven out of 10 labor economists (71 percent) believe that even modest local living-wage proposals would cause employers to cut back on hiring entry-level employees. | Lynn Vincent


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