Oregon Indexes Min Wage, Sky Doesn't Fall

As 13th floor readers know, I believe that indexing the minimum wage to inflation would be an excellent way to get Democrats and Republicans to ...
by | November 3, 2006

Money_3 As 13th floor readers know, I believe that indexing the minimum wage to inflation would be an excellent way to get Democrats and Republicans to stop arguing about it all the time. Turns out six states -- Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio -- are voting on this very idea next week.

Today's WSJ weighs in on the issue with a look (free WSJ link today!)at how indexing has worked in Oregon since 2002. There is, of course, an example confirming the business lobby's worst fears: a restaurant owner says he hires fewer employees because his profit margins are squeezed.

But here's the money quote:

Oregon's experience suggests the most strident doomsayers were wrong. Private, nonfarm payrolls are up 8% over the past four years, nearly twice the national increase. Wages are up, too. Job growth is strong in industries employing many minimum-wage workers, such as restaurants and hotels. Oregon's estimated 5.4% unemployment rate for 2006, though higher than the national average, is down from 7.6% in 2002, when the state was emerging from a recession.

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