from Silver Phoenix 500:
President Obama set the chattering classes abuzz after his recent unilateral announcement to raise the minimum wage for newly hired Federal contract workers. During his State of the Union address in January, he sang the praises for his decision, saying that “It’s good for the economy; it’s good for America.” As the worldwide economic slump drags on, the political drumbeat to either introduce minimum wage laws (read: Germany) or increase the minimums in countries where these laws exist – such as Indonesia – is becoming deafening. Yet the glowing claims about minimum wage laws don’t pass the economic smell test. Just look at the data from Europe (see the accompanying chart).
There are seven European Union (E.U.) countries in which no minimum wage is mandated (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Sweden). If we compare the levels of unemployment in these countries with E.U. countries that impose a minimum wage, the results are clear. A minimum wage leads to higher levels of unemployment. In the 21 countries with a minimum wage, the average country has an unemployment rate of 11.8%. Whereas, the average unemployment rate in the seven countries without mandated minimum wages is about one third lower – at 7.9%.
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