Busting Right-Wing Talking Point, 'Groundbreaking' Study Shows Federal $15 Minimum Wage Would Not Cause Job Losses in Low-Wage States

New research published Tuesday by economists at the University of California, Berkeley showed that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would significantly reduce poverty without causing job losses in low-wage states—a finding that further undermines fearmongering by conservatives and centrist Democrats.

“Put in practical terms, the new Berkeley study is further evidence that workers, and not the nation’s conservative columnists, are right.”
—Sarah Jones

Anna Godoey and Michael Reich of U.C. Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, the authors of the study (pdf), examined 51 minimum wage increases in 750 low-wage counties across 45 states between 2004 and 2016.

The researchers found “substantial declines in household and child poverty” in low-wage areas—such as Mississippi and Alabama—without detecting any negative impact on employment or hours.

“The results of our research show that we can raise pay to $15, even in low-cost states,” Godoey said in a statement. “The data show that the minimum wage has positive effects, especially in areas where the highest proportion of workers received minimum wage increases.”

The “groundbreaking” new research comes as so-called moderate Democrats in the House are working to water down legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024.