Albany, N.Y. — A new report by an Albany think tank estimates that the state would lose between 200,000 and nearly 500,000 jobs if it raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The report, released by the Empire Center for Public Policy and the American Action Forum today, examined the impact of raising the statewide minimum wage to $15, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed. The report also looked at the potential job losses created by increasing the minimum wage to $12 across all industries.
The current minimum wage is $8.75 an hour. The state raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast-food workers, but that will be phased in over time.
“Our report shows that a massive increase in the minimum wage would actually hurt the very low-wage, low-skill workers it is supposed to help,” said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center. “The impact on job creation and employment opportunities would be substantial in every region of New York, especially upstate.”
McMahon said that number of job losses is too high a price for a policy that will do more harm than good.
“Pay increases for millions will come at the expense of lost employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people,” McMahon said.
The Empire Center is an Albany-based conservative think tank. The American Action Forum is a Washington, D.C. – based policy agency.
According to the report, fewer than 7 percent of the people who would see their wages increase under a $15 minimum wage are living in poverty.