An economic analysis done by two economists estimates that if the federally-mandated minimum wage were raised to $15 per hour, Alabama would lose 53,227 jobs over six years.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign and the national Democratic Party have made the $15 an hour minimum wage a plank in their economic platform. As recently as 2015, that rate was considered far-fetched by most Democrats, but the increasing popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-proclaimed Democratic-socialist, pushed it into the mainstream of the party.
The report was sponsored, written about, and published by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) based on technical work by economists Dr. William Even and Dr. David Macpherson of Trinity University and Miami University, respectively.
EPI is closely tied to the Washington, D.C. firm Berman and Company, which represents clients in the hospitality industry, but the two economists who performed the analysis are independent.
Macpherson is chair of the economics department at Trinity and has been published in academic journals over 60 times. Even is an economics professor at Miami University and has conducted work for the U.S. government in the past.
Their work uses as a baseline the Raise the Wage Act passed in 2019 by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour gradually over six years, was opposed by all of Alabama’s Republican members, but Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) voted in favor of the measure.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) favors raising the minimum wage but has never specifically tied himself to the $15 rate. However, he has enthusiastically supported Joe Biden for president and did not publicly signal any disagreement with the $15 an hour proposal being included in his party’s platform.
Part of the paper’s executive summary reads:
[I]f enacted, the Raise the Wage Act would result in 2 million jobs lost across the United States. The Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation and Accommodation and Food Services sectors will account for half of these job losses. Workers aged 16-24 will see the highest proportion of job losses, and the majority of jobs lost will be those held by women.
EPI writes, “Women are also likely to experience significantly more job losses than men as a result of a $15 federal minimum wage. Analysis by the economists shows that not only are 59 percent of minimum wage jobs held by women and slated to be affected by these wage increases, this means that 1.2 million jobs held by women will be lost by 2027 due to this policy, accounting for 61 percent of total losses.”
The full report, including a detailed explanation by the two economists on the methods they used, can be accessed here.