Flying in the face of what most economists believe, GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson announced that raising the minimum wage would cost America jobs.
“Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases,” the retired neurosurgeon said during the fourth televised GOP debate. “If you lower those wages, that comes down,”
Only one problem: this claim is seriously contested. More than 600 economists signed a letter to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders last year urging the government to raise the federal minimum wage.
“The weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market,” the economists wrote.
There are some forecasts that support Carson’s view: the Congressional Budget Office last year said that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would cost the US economy 500,000 jobs.
But many economists disagree with these estimates and so does the US Department of Labor. State-by-state hiring data released last year by the Department of Labor showed that the 13 states that raised their minimum wages at the start of the year gained jobs faster than their peers.
The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009.