States with Higher Minimum Wages Added More Jobs Over the Past Year

States with higher minimum wages have added more jobs over the past 12 months.

That’s the conclusion of a new Economic Commentary [PDF] released by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, which evaluates recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are 21 states where the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour applies. In these states, year-over-year employment growth was 1.67 percent. By contrast, there are 29 states and the District of Columbia that have a minimum wage that exceeds the federal level. In these states, annual employment growth was 2.12 percent.

MW Apr15 to Apr16

Further data analysis reveals that states with particularly high minimum wage levels had even stronger employment growth over the past year.

  • There are 24 states where the adult minimum wage is less than $8.00 an hour. In these states, year-over-year employment growth was 1.62 percent.
  • There are 15 states where the adult minimum wage is between $8.00 and $8.99 an hour. In these states, year-over-year employment growth was 2.09 percent.
  • In 11 states and the District of Columbia, the adult minimum wage is $9.00 an hour or more. In these states, year-over-year employment growth was 2.27 percent.

MW Apr15 to Apr16_1

This short-term data negates the claim that a modest increase in the minimum wage would inevitably “kill” jobs. There is no recent evidence to support this assertion.

In Illinois, 63 percent of surveyed Ph.D. economists and public policy professors at accredited universities respond that the state’s minimum wage should be above $8.25 per hour. The average value suggested by the economics and policy experts was $9.45 per hour and the median was $10.00 an hour.

Illinois needs a minimum wage of $10.00 per hour just to keep up with inflation. This policy change would reduce inequality and would increase consumption by low-income households. At the same time, there is no evidence that a small increase in the minimum wage would negatively impact total employment. In fact, as more than 600 economists wrote, an increase in the minimum wage “could have a small simulative effect on the economy.”


For the full data, please click on and read the Economic Commentary.

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org, like ILEPI on Facebook, and follow ILEPI on Twitter @IllinoisEPI. This post is part of the “Frankonomics” series.

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