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01/29/2014

Minimum Wage Hike Means ‘Minimum Opportunities’: NRF

In response to President Barack Obama’s announcement during the Jan. 28 State of the Union address that he will sign an executive order raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers on new government contracts and ask Congress to approve the same increase for all workers, Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation (NRF), responded that such a move would actually result in “minimum opportunities.”

A Matter of Math

“We welcome the president’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal,” explained Shay. “Raising the minimum wage would place a new burden on employers at a time when national policy should be focused on removing barriers to job creation, not creating new regulations or mandates. It’s simple math -- if the cost of hiring goes up, hiring goes down.”

Added Shay: “Fewer than 5 percent of hourly workers are paid the minimum wage. It’s really a starting wage that allows teenagers or others with little job experience to enter the workforce. A mandated hike in labor costs would negatively impact businesses that employ people in entry-level jobs and ultimately hurt the people it is intended to help. This isn’t economic theory – when the minimum wage went up in 2009, half a million part-time workers lost their jobs. That’s a risk our economy can’t afford to take.”