CBO Report: $15 Minimum Wage Would Cost 1.3 Million Jobs

U.S. budget office predicts higher wages for some, job loss for others.

July 11, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would boost wages for some 17 million people but cost the United States 1.3 million jobs, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

According to UPI, the CBO analysis said that in addition to boosting wages for millions of minimum wage earners, an additional 10 million who are “otherwise earning slightly” more than $15 per hour also could get a pay raise. As a result, approximately 1.3 million Americans would rise above the poverty level, but at the cost of 1.3 million U.S. jobs.

Democrats in Congress are seeking to more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. Opponents say the increased costs would be prohibitive for some smaller businesses, resulting in loss of jobs as illustrated by the non-partisan CBO report. As reported in NACS Daily, a federal $15 minimum wage is expected to be a major issue in the 2020 presidential election.

The CBO said a $12 per hour minimum wage would have “smaller effects” on the U.S. economy and job market. By 2025, it would result in wage increases for five million workers earning less than $12. Another six million who make slightly more than $12 could also see an increase. That scenario would result in the loss of about 300,000 jobs.

A $10 per hour minimum wage would see wage increases for 1.5 million workers, with another two million possibly seeing a raise. There would be “little effect” on employment, the CBO said.

As reported in NACS Daily, higher minimum wages took effect July 1 for 22 U.S. jurisdictions.

Separate from government mandates, some retailers have been lifting the minimum pay for hourly workers. Target Corp. raised its minimum wage to $13 an hour in June, while Amazon increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour in October 2018. Costco has increased its minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.