Teenage Unemployment and the Minimum Wage

During times of strong economic growth, the politics of the minimum wage seem to tilt in the direction of “higher and faster.” After all, when unemployment is at historical lows and job growth is strong, we all feel like wages should be rising.
Now, as the economy weakens, we see the proverbial “chickens” of artificially-mandated wages coming home to roost. This is not a theoretical proposition. My 17 year old cousin who worked for an above-minimum-wage salary last summer, has been unable to find a job this summer. From the looks of recent news stories, he is not alone.
Investors Business Daily recently editorialized of the impact of the recent minimum wage increase on teenage unemployment and how these policies have helped spur teen joblessness to its highest level in 60 years. Rather than enacting additional government programs to deal with the “crisis,” Congress and the New Mexico Legislature need to repeal recently-passed (and economically-harmful) minimum wage hikes.