NRF: Minimum wage hike would bring 'minimum opportunities'

Washington, D.C. -- President Obama in his State of the Union address last night said he plans to sign an executive order increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour for workers on new government contracts and asked Congress to approve the same increase for all workers — and the National Retail Federation is not happy.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay issued a response ahead of the president’s address.

“If you want to create minimum opportunities, then raise the minimum wage. We welcome the president’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal. Raising the minimum wage would place a new burden on employers at a time when national policy should be focused on removing barriers to job creation, not creating new regulations or mandates. It’s simple math — if the cost of hiring goes up, hiring goes down.”

According to Shay, fewer than 5% of hourly workers are paid the minimum wage. The NRF believes that it’s really a starting wage allowing teenagers or others with little job experience to enter the workforce.

“A mandated hike in labor costs would negatively impact businesses that employ people in entry-level jobs and ultimately hurt the people it is intended to help. This isn’t economic theory — when the minimum wage went up in 2009, half a million part-time workers lost their jobs. That’s a risk our economy can’t afford to take,” Shay added.

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