NC $15 min wage workers

Last week, The News & Observer published an op-ed by a community activist making a case for a $15/hr. minimum wage (to politicians, in order to get votes). Other local activists and “moraldemagogues have been arguing for a $15/hr. minimum wage either from “faith and morality” or as virtue-signaling.

The editors of the N&O have actually written for publication, and not on April 1, that doing so would “boost the economy” and put “more workers in the active economy.” They wrote that “$15 is not an unreasonable national goal.”

“Raising the minimum wage lifts everyone,” they concluded according to their house brand of economics.

The recent column included this factoid: “Low pay is so pervasive that nearly half of North Carolinians today earn less than $15 an hour.”

Nearly half.

Which would mean, if the federal minimum wage were hiked to over twice its size right now to $15/hr., that nearly half of the workers in North Carolina would be directly affected. So does that mean nearly half would suddenly get a raise?

No, it means a significant portion would lose their jobs, because the government suddenly made them too expensive to keep on the payrolls. Some would get a raise. Many, many others would no longer get paychecks.

The graph above shows just how large the proportion is we’re talking about. James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation ran estimates of how hiking the minimum wage to $15/hr. would affect employment (these are full-time-equivalent jobs) in North Carolina. He estimated it would cost us 334,000 jobs.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is how many paid and salaried workers in North Carolina earn the minimum wage right now:

NC $7.25 min wage workers

Boosting the minimum wage to the $10.10/hr. raise favored by Democrats in Congress and President Obama in 2013 (before that, too, turned out to be “hidebound” and “hateful”), would have led to over 46,000 lost jobs in North Carolina per research published in the Journal of Labor Economics:

NC $10.10 min wage workers

Finally, the lost jobs aren’t randomly distributed. The disemployed tend to be the least skilled, the poorest, the least educated. That is, the ones who most need the work.