Tags: Yellen | minimum | wage | jobs

Yellen: Minimum Wage Increase Would Cost Jobs

Image: Yellen: Minimum Wage Increase Would Cost Jobs

Friday, 09 May 2014 09:09 AM

By Dan Weil


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in congressional testimony Thursday, backed the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s estimate that President Obama's proposal to lift the minimum wage would cost 500,000 jobs.

Obama wants to see an increase to $10.10 from the current rate of $7.25. The CBO also estimates that such a hike would lift 900,000 people out of poverty.

"I think almost all economists think that the minimum wage has two main effects," Yellen said, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The first is an increase in pay for low-paid workers, and the second is that "there would be some amount of negative impact on employment."

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The size of that impact represents a matter of "considerable debate," Yellen said. But, "I wouldn't argue with their [the CBO's] assessment," she said. "They're good at this kind of evaluation."

The White House said the CBO overestimated job losses.

As for the positive side of a minimum wage increase, "a large number of individuals would see their incomes raised as a consequence," Yellen said. "I think that's the trade-off."

David French, top lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, criticized efforts by Democrats in Congress to put Obama's proposal into law.

"It is thoroughly a political exercise and our goal is to create a strong economy across the entire industry," he told CNNMoney. "Our concern with the minimum wage increase at this time is it didn't meet that standard."

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