Archive for the ‘Unemployment’ Category

State Treasurer Flowers’ office has posted new economic numbers in the “Delaware mini economic index”as of this November. Here are some of the numbers:

The State’s economic climate over the last 60 days is rated as “Fair”, which is the middle rating. The national growth is listed as “weak”.

The weakness is being led by a slowing housing market. After all, one can only buy so many homes at artificially low interest rates, can we?

There was an increase of 50 Delawareans per week filing jobless claims. This number will likely change when the EVRAZ steel plant in Claymont and the Georgia-Pacific plant in Harrington shut down.

Delaware had 440,172 people in the labor force in August 2013 (Delaware Dept. of Labor). 32,116 were part time, the rest full time. There are 1,600 fewer Delawareans working in August than in July, and likely fewer now than in August when the new numbers come out. The U-3 unemployment rating went from 7.3% to 7.4%, which is about the national average. A few places like CarMax and Kraft Foods are adding some new jobs or expanding on existing ones, but the numbers are small.

Gas prices have been dropping slowly but steadily, to the point where some are wondering if $3 a gallon gas by New Year’s is possible.

When September and October numbers come out, we will post them for you. Overall: Delaware could be in worse shape, but we could be in better shape as well. CRI has been offering ideas and solutions to address our economic growth issues. Visit http://www.caesarrodney.org to learn more.

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And why they do not work


On May 16th, 2013, the UK Daily Mail reported a shortage of toilet paper was occurring in Venezuela, the home of  the late “Revolutionary” Hugo Chavez. Although many Venezuelans and people around the world do not understand how this is, we will explain here. From the article:

“First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper.
Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies.

Economists say Venezuela’s shortages stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government’s controls on foreign currency.

“State-controlled prices – prices that are set below market-clearing price – always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union,” said Steve Hanke, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.

Prices of goods and services is THE basic determinant of value of a particular good or service. How do we know what value is? Some items will be valued more by some than others. For example, some people will not pay $60 for a brand new video game, but others will. Some would pay $90 for a brand new video game. Thus stores will set their prices based on what people are willing to pay, not on what the government tells them. If stores overcharge on an item, they will sell fewer units, and thus will be compelled to lower their prices in order to sell their items and stay in business. If even one enterprise charges a little less than its competitors for the same item and consumers react accordingly, then other enterprises will be compelled to follow suit. This rule does not hold true for cartels, monopolies, duopolies, or oligarchies-nearly all of which are either sanctioned by the government or actually run by it. From the article:
“President Nicolás Maduro, who was selected by the dying Hugo Chávez to carry on his “Bolivarian revolution”, claims that anti-government forces, including the private sector, are causing the shortages in an effort to destabilize the country.”

This is a classic socialist tactic. Most socialists, Keynesians, and Statists do not understand that people will act according to their best interests. They think they can run an economy from one location and everything will work well because they said so. Hugo Chavez, whose nation only made money due to oil reserves in Venezuela, “gave” people food, work, education, healthcare, affordable housing, but his people still became poorer and more dependent. The reason is obvious: The “free” goods were paid for by those who produced, and taxes went up and up until the producers either fled the country or bargained with Chavez so they could benefit from Cronyism.

Back to the accusation: as is usual for people who do not understand the problems, or who are deliberately trying to manipulate people, blame some boogeyman for the regime’s failures, so those who are less educated and informed will actually believe the government’s lies. From the article:

“The government this week announced it also would import 760,000 tonnes of food in addition to the 50m rolls of toilet paper.

Many factories operate at half capacity because the currency controls make it hard for them to pay for imported parts and materials. Business leaders say some companies verge on bankruptcy because they cannot extend lines of credit with foreign suppliers.

Merentes said the government had met the US dollar requests of some 1,500 small- and medium-sized companies facing supply problems, and was reviewing requests from a similar number of larger companies.

Chávez imposed currency controls a decade ago trying to stem capital flight as his government expropriated large land parcels and dozens of businesses.”

Instead of businesses paying for the parts and materials they needed based on a free flow of pricing, the government simply told people what they could pay for things. The problem is that if the price is unacceptable to those trying to sell, they will just walk away. They will not take a value they feel is less than they were looking for  unless forced to by government. This is EXACTLY what happens to nations with single-payer healthcare: the government dictates the prices to the providers, and they either accept it or else decide the prices paid is not equal to or greater than the services they provide. The result is fewer providers, many of whom will retire or change professions. Why do all the hard work of medical school or in this case trying to buy and sell goods or services if your value is dictated to you by people, most of whom have no experience in your field and whose goals and motivations differ significantly from yours?

This is the lesson we learn from big government supporters:Government cannot run industries because their objectives differ from those who seek profit or other compensation as reward. Free-market and free-enterprise economics supporters do not take into account the temperment of people or the intent. Rather, we acknowledge reality: that most people are incentivized to provide goods and services for an incentive, be it money, stocks, items, or whatever else that individual values, and each person’s exact values differ. There is no “one size fits all”, and forcing people to go along with that idea does not work. There is no delusion paradise which often exists in the minds of “progressives” that rich people will just pay more taxes, doctors will happily provide their services for whatever price the government thinks is “fair”, and people will all get paid high wages with full benefits.

In this case price controls did not make goods cheaper: they made goods scarce and now Madura, who most likely rigged the election over Capriles, will now have to choose between doing the right thing and eliminating price controls and government control of the economy, or doing the Chavez and blaming everyone and everything for his party’s failures.

Read the original article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/16/venezuela-toilet-paper-shortage-50m


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A bipartisan group of state representatives has sponsored House Resolution #32 supporting the Army Corps of Engineers Channel Deepening Project. It’s primary sponsor is Rep. J. Johnson. Representatives Brady, Keeley, D. Short and D.P. Williams are additional sponsors. It is co-sponsored by Representatives BriggsKing, Carey, Hocker, Lee and Longhurst.

WHEREAS, the Port of Wilmington is a valuable economic engine for the State of Delaware’s interstate and international commerce, annually serving more than 400 vessels with an import/export tonnage exceeding 4 million tons; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project (the “Project”) is a proposed United States Army Corps of Engineers project to increase the depth of (by dredging) the Delaware River’s main shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet; and

WHEREAS, in the shipping industry, the trend is to build larger ships to accommodate more cargo, and larger ships require more “draft” or deeper water to safely navigate; and

WHEREAS, deepening the Delaware River’s main channel would allow larger vessels to safely navigate and dock at ports along the River, including the Port of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Wilmington is geographically “blessed” by virtue of its location between larger markets and proximity to rail and highway transportation facilities; and

WHEREAS, a deeper channel would encourage existing shippers to continue using the Port of Wilmington and also permit the Port of Wilmington to compete for expanded commercial shipments, resulting in additional jobs in and around the Port; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project could inject over $500 million annually into the local and regional economy; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project would create and support a total of 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the State, with 44% of those employed residing in New Castle County and 36% residing in the City of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that the Project would lead to more than $212 million in total revenues for Delaware businesses and more than $22 million in annual State and local taxes; and

WHEREAS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has designed the Project to be environmentally sensitive by using advanced technology to monitor and protect Delaware’s wildlife and restricting dredging activities at times when particular wildlife species mate and spawn; and

WHEREAS, the State of Delaware would also reap the benefits of beach replenishment and creation of new wetlands from the Project; and

WHEREAS, the House of Representatives recognizes economic benefits of the Project and considers the proposed dredging of the Delaware River’s main shipping channel to be essential to maintaining and expanding the Port of Wilmington’s commercial business.


BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the 145th General Assembly of the State of Delaware hereby expresses its support for the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project and encourages the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to support this important economic development project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon passage a suitably prepared and duly authenticated copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

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Dave Burris has published an interesting article in the current issue of Coastal Sussex Weekly Magazine, which was written by Michael Short.

The piece examines the profession of river pilot, and includes the pilots’ take on dredging.

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Attorney General Beau Biden watched the proceedings from the audience Tuesday, but did not argue the case.

By Lee Williams

(Note: this story can also be found in CRI’s Special Reports section.)

The State of Delaware asked District Court Judge Sue Robinson Tuesday for an injunction that would halt the Army Corps of Engineers’ controversial plan to deepen the Delaware River from 40 to 45 feet.

Delaware Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Oliva presented the state’s case before a packed courtroom, which included several longshoremen from the Port of Wilmington who had ball caps that said “Dredge Now!”

Oliva castigated the Corps of Engineers for its decision to move forward with the plan without obtaining Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) permits, calling it a “surprise” and a “unilateral decision,” until Judge Robinson interrupted.

“I am taken aback by the State of Delaware’s constant use of ‘surprise’ and ‘unilateral decision,’” Robinson said. “The process has been going on for years, and it’s striking to me that the State of Delaware has sat on its hands for years. Am I supposed to set that aside and start my history in 2009?”

Congress authorized the dredging plan in 1992. The Corps first applied for state permits in 2001. Two years later, a DNREC hearing officer recommended rejecting the plan. It wasn’t until July 2009 that DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara formally denied the Corps’ dredging proposal.

After the denial, the Corps took steps to move the plan forward until Attorney General Biden’s office filed suit to stop the plan. The State of New Jersey and five environmental groups quickly joined the suit.

“It is true that from 2003 until the secretary ruled recently in July, Delaware didn’t formally address the permits,” Oliva said.

This delay by the state was noted by Judge Robinson and Kent Hanson, a U.S. Justice Department attorney representing the Corps of Engineers.

“The Corps has never said that the hurdle to comply with state law is way too high,” Hanson said. “In this case it’s way too long.”

Robinson peppered Oliva with questions about the steps needed to implement the dredging plan.

“It’s obvious Congress wants this proposal to go forward, and whenever you dredge a riverbed you have consequences. The question is, what obstacles does the Corps need to get through to implement Congress’ directive?” the judge asked Oliva. “My real question is how do we move this project forward? What is left to be done?”

Oliva pointed out that both the federal Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act require the Corps to coordinate with the states involved.

“The Corps hasn’t said one reason which precludes them from complying with state law,” Oliva said.

During his presentation, Hanson acknowledged the legal requirement to comply with state water quality regulations.

“But there is a ‘but’ which Delaware wants to leave out of the statute: unless the state action effects or impairs the Army’s authority to maintain navigation.”

Oliva added that the Corps’ responsibility to maintain a navigable waterway also did not apply, as the river hosts much traffic already, at the 40 feet depth.

“The Secretary of the Army has a duty to maintain navigation, not enhance,” Oliva said. “Navigation on this river up to the Port of Philadelphia is robust. They’ve bragged about it.”

Hanson said the Corps has the authority to move forward without the permits. However, he said, they will still seek DNREC permits, even though they do not feel bound to obtain them.

He chided the state for claiming the dredging would stir loose harmful contaminants without offering any proof.

“The evidence, in terms of data and expert testimony, is all on this side, and there will be no irreparable harm,” he said, adding that that the state’s claims had neither evidence nor causal links.

“It is a kind of fear mongering,” he said.

Oliva did not fully address the economic impact that could occur if the channel is not deepened, and larger vessels bypass the local ports in favor of those with deeper shipping channels.

Hanson said delaying or denying the proposal would produce harm.

“We’re not talking about economic harm to the government. We’re talking about economic harm to people,” he said. “In the public interest, we can’t ignore the environment, but we have to look at much more.”

Robinson will entertain additional written briefs for two weeks before ruling on the state’s request.

Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at (302) 242-9272 or lee@caesarrodney.org

The Caesar Rodney Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan research and educational organization and is committed to being a catalyst for improved performance, accountability, and efficiency in Delaware government.

© Copyright Dec.8, 2009 by the Caesar Rodney Institute.

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Proponents of the Army Corps of Engineer’s channel deepening project claim opposition by local politicians is self-serving, a betrayal of their constituents’ best interests, anti-business and anti-labor.

By Lee Williams

(Note: this story can also be found in CRI’s Special Report section.)

The Army Corps of Engineers has been dredging the Delaware River since the 1800s, when the river was 18-feet deep. The current 40-foot depth has been maintained regularly since World War II.

If Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had his way, they’d be dredging the river deeper tomorrow, but a proposal by the Corps of Engineers to deepen parts of the shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet is in jeopardy.

After Delaware and New Jersey officials took legal action to halt the dredging project, five environmental groups similarly filed suit – lawsuits Rendell believes are frivolous.

“What makes these suits a hoax is that we do dredging every year,” Rendell told the Caesar Rodney Institute. “We do maintenance dredging. When we’re allowed a 40-foot depth, silt accumulates and you have to dredge.”

If parts of the 103-mile shipping channel are dredged to 45 feet, Rendell and many others believe the increase in traffic will create more jobs throughout the region, in addition to safeguarding the jobs already here.

“I am a strong advocate of dredging. It’s essential for us in the Port of Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and the Port of Wilmington to remain competitive,” Rendell said. “We need to dredge to at least 45 feet. If we do so, we could add 10,000 to 40,000 good-paying longshoreman jobs. To get 10,000 to 40,000 jobs, especially in this economy, is like manna from heaven.”

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine don’t see the Corps’ plan as heaven sent. None were willing to be interviewed for this story.

Privately, Corzine has admitted his opposition to the dredging project would end after he won re-election, a campaign he ultimately lost.

According to a former government official, during a meeting in late September, Corzine said, “I don’t give a shit about this dredging project. We just have to get through November 3rd.”

Corzine’s critics have accused him of supporting dredging that benefits the northern ports in his state, while ignoring the interests of southern New Jersey ports.

Rendell has spoken to Markell and Corzine about the need to deepen the channel by five feet, and he has a plan to overcome their opposition.

“I told them we’re going to create an oversight committee to make sure the dredging goes without any environmental problems,” Rendell said, adding that the viability of ports up and down the river is at risk if the project is stopped.

Who stopped the project?

The suits by the environmental groups didn’t halt the dredging. The Corps $300 million plan was already on hold. It was stopped dead because of a report issued in 2003 by an anonymous hearing officer working for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), who decided the Corps didn’t submit sufficient documentation, and that the plan changed during the intervening years, while DNREC sat on the paperwork.

“Studies, opinions and documentation required to corroborate requests to modify protective environmental windows are not part of the record,” the hearing officer wrote in his six-year-old report.

DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara cited this hearing officer’s report in his July 23 denial letter, sent to Lt. Col. Thomas Tickner, the Corps’ Philadelphia District Commander.

“Given the Hearing Officer’s recommendations, the significant changes to the scale of the project, the outdated nature of the record, and the potential procedural flaws in making such an important decision based upon the existing record, I have no alternative than to deny the permits,” O’Mara said in the letter.

O’Mara too was not willing to be interviewed for this story.

His denial letter set off a chain reaction among politically ambitious state officials on both sides of the river.

On Oct. 30, Biden filed suit in federal court to stop the project, arguing the project infringed upon his state’s sovereign rights.

“The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to begin deepening Delaware waters is a direct challenge to the territorial authority of the State of Delaware and violates federal and state law,” Biden is quoted as saying in a press release. “We will aggressively enforce our right to regulate and control any activity conducted on the Delaware River within Delaware’s boundaries. Instead of working with Delaware by addressing longstanding critical concerns about the impact of the proposed dredging project, the Corps decided to proceed to deepen Delaware waters without Delaware’s approval.”

Less than two weeks later, at Corzine’s direction, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram – who was appointed in 2007 by Corzine – joined Biden’s suit, a move Biden trumpeted in yet another press release.

“New Jersey’s decision demonstrates its shared commitment with Delaware to protect the territorial integrity of our states and our natural resources,” Biden is quoted as saying in a Nov. 10 press release. “I applaud New Jersey’s swift action in this case…”

A week later, the environmental groups piled on.

Motives questioned

The actions of the two attorneys general produced consternation and a lot of head scratching at the Corps, who like Rendell pointed out there’s almost always maintenance dredging going on somewhere on the river, in order to maintain a navigable depth.

“There’s a lot about this project that’s unique for us,” said Ed Voigt, spokesman for the Corps’ Philadelphia District.

The Corps, he said, first applied for DNREC permits in 2001, so of course the plan morphed somewhat while the department took no action.

As to the five lawsuits, Voigt pointed to the Corp’s reams of environmental impact statements.

“There have been $8 million worth of environmental studies to date,” he said. “There have been samples looking at salinity, ground water impact, contaminant levels, impact on shellfish and endangered species.”

What did the studies determine?

“There is no significant impact,” he said. “It’s environmentally safe. The channel’s clean. It’s a very thorough battery of tests.”

Voigt said one on the “traps” people fall into when considering dredging is the mistaken belief that contaminants in the silt will be disturbed by the process and float downstream. This risk, he said, is negated by the Corps’ ongoing maintenance dredging.

“Because of the maintenance of the channel for the past 70 years, there’s a vacuuming effect, a skimmering effect,” he explained. “As contaminants are introduced into the channel, they come back out.”

The Corps has already made plans to dispose of the 16 million cubic yards of sand, clay and silt – known as spoils – that will be removed from the river bottom once the plan is approved.

They say 11.9 million cubic yards of spoils will be placed on federal land in New Jersey and Delaware. In the past, the Corps has allowed these spoils to be used for public works projects. Several years ago, the West Deptford Township used 150,000 cubic yards in its riverfront development project.

The remaining 4.1 million cubic yards, mostly sand from the Delaware Bay, is slated to be used for shore protection.

It’s about jobs

The Holt Logistics Corp. was founded in 1926 by Leo Holt, who started with a single truck – new technology for its time.

Holt raised his family in Philadelphia, making deliveries around the region with a small fleet of two trucks.

He lost everything during the Great Depression, by using the trucks as collateral in a loan he guaranteed for a friend. He managed to rebuild, and passed a successful trucking business to his two sons, Leo and Tom.

In 1967, the two brothers managed to buy a piece of an old shipyard, expanding the family business into the maritime industry.

Today, the founder’s grandson Leo A. Holt oversees a diversified business, with more than 1,500 people depending on him for their livelihood.

Holt believes the politicians who oppose dredging are not taking into account the best interests of their constituents. Unless the plan is implemented, Holt said the entire Delaware River estuary will be bypassed by vessels that require a deeper draft.

“There is so much these people have not answered in terms of their opposition,” he said. “If they do not take their hand off the throat of this, they run the risk of marginalizing their own populations. They are not only putting their hands on the throat of businesses, but their own people.”

If the plan is approved, the entire region will benefit.

“What we want to see is not just a port facility developed. We want to see distribution parks proximate to the port facilities, built in Delaware, Philadelphia and New Jersey,” he said. “That’s the front and the back of how the world evolves.”

Holt has already made commitments to expand his port facilities – commitments that are at risk if the river is not dredged.

“Our outlook is very simple. We just want to see more jobs, create more capital, put it back in our business, and reinvest in what we do,” Holt said.

Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Keller, D-Philadelphia, like Holt, questions the motivations of politicians who oppose the dredging plan.

Keller, a former longshoreman, said the issue is simple – it’s about creating more jobs.

“Some politicians have used this issue. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They may be able to win a local election by saying dredging is bad, but they’ll hurt the people who depend upon the river for a living,” Keller said. “It’s our job to create jobs. They say they’re for that, but their actions are different.”

Keller said more than 75,000 people currently depend on the port for their livelihood.

“If the politicians along the Delaware River don’t get their act together and get behind dredging, we’ll lose all those jobs and it will be our fault,” he said. “In Philadelphia, we can’t afford to lose those jobs. I don’t think the people of Wilmington can either.”

Gov. Minner’s role

Capt. Mike Linton, former president of the Delaware Bay Pilots Association, spent 48 years on the river.

He ferried former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner up and down the river, to familiarize the governor with the Corps’ proposal.

“She was on the river at least three times. She knew quite a bit about it. She was in favor of the plan,” Linton said.

Linton believes Minner should have signed-off on the Corps’ proposal, and told her DNREC secretary to issue the necessary permits, instead of allowing the plan to gather dust in DNREC’s in-box.

“I’m very baffled why she didn’t do it,” he said.

Minner did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

“If we don’t’ dredge, the traffic we have in Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington will eventually go away,” Linton said.

The problem, he explained, is an aging fleet. The ships hauling the bulk of the fruit to local ports are in their “teens.” They’re designed to last approximately 20 years.

“The next generation of ships is being built to accommodate the Panama Canal,” he said. “They’re bigger. If we don’t get more water, what we have will wither on the vine and eventually go away.”

Linton and others say larger container ships will simply choose other ports with deeper access, such as Baltimore, Norfolk and Miami, which have a 50-foot depth, or New York, Charleston and northern New Jersey, which have dredged to 45-feet.

He and other dredging proponents point out that 1,000 trucks will be added to the region’s highways per day, if the channel is not deepened, which will increase pollution, traffic congestion and highway repair costs.

Green Concerns

Green Delaware is not one of the five environmental groups suing to stop the Corps’ dredging project.

Green Delaware Executive Director Alan Muller, who opposes additional dredging, says the controversy is cyclical.

“For decades, there’s been an ongoing squabble between environmentalists and other interests. It’s fair to say, so far, the anti-dredging interests have prevailed. That’s the big picture,” Muller said. “Over the years, there’s been a big push to say [dredging] is needed and wanted. Now, we’re going through another cycle. There’s nothing unusual about that.”

From an environmentalist’s perspective, Muller said, part of the issue is trust.

“The Corps, at least as far as the Philadelphia District is concerned, no one trusts them,” he said. “Everything they say seems to be automatically regarded as a lie.”

Muller said the “vacuuming effect” of constant dredging is itself problematic, and responsible for two types of pollutants.

“The technical lingo is ‘suspended in the water column,’ which means when you go along the bottom with the cutter, it loosens everything up. Some gets sucked up into the spoils area, the other heads down river,” he said. “The conflict is one: what is suspended in the water, and two: where do you put the spoils?”

Muller dismissed the idea proposed by some dredging proponents of dumping the spoils into old coal mines.

“[The spoils] are the consistency of a can of black bean soup. No one wants to put that into rail cars and haul it to Scranton. What would the effect on the groundwater be?” he asked. “And it’s expensive.”

If the spoils were deposited above ground, he said, a good rain would allow contaminants to leech out and re-enter the groundwater.

“A lot of the environmentalists’ objections to this are philosophical,” he said. “They feel the river has been used as a channel for commerce ever since white people showed up. Now it’s time to pay a little attention to the river itself.”

Rep. Keller disagrees, and points to the Corps’ environmental impact studies.

“There are 12,000 pages of scientific data saying it’s fine. As a matter of fact, it’s better than fine,” he said. “This is about one thing – job creation.”

Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at (302) 242-9272 or lee@caesarrodney.org

The Caesar Rodney Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan research and educational organization and is committed to being a catalyst for improved performance, accountability, and efficiency in Delaware government.

© Copyright Dec. 7, 2009 by the Caesar Rodney Institute.

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Mark Perry has an interesting post at the Enterprise Blog where he discusses the current unemployment rate for teens.

As indicated by the graph below, increasing the minimum wage has a pronounced effect on teen unemployment.


From Perry’s post,

The chart above of the teenage jobless rate and minimum wage over the last four recessions helps to illustrate how the 2008–2009 recession by itself would have been bad enough for teenage employment, but coupled together with the 41 percent minimum wage increase it created the worst teenage job market in history.

Teenage unemployment rates have always risen during recessions, and there were several minimum wage increases that happened around the time of recessions, which likely pushed the teenage jobless rate up even higher. There was an 8.1 percent increase in the minimum wage close to the 1981–1982 recession, and a 27 percent increase around the time of the 1990–1991 recession. But those increases were nothing compared to the 41 percent increase that took place in three steps starting in 2007 just preceding the recession, followed by increases in 2008 and 2009 in the midst of the recession. The chart clearly illustrates the fact that the minimum wage increased by 41 percent at the same time that the teenage jobless rate spiked to record highs, and it’s likely that the positive relationship is no coincidence.

Raising the minimum wage in the United States by 41 percent during the last three years has denied job opportunities and training to some of those who need those experiences the most—unskilled teenage workers.

The bottom line is simple. When you increase the minimum wage certain individuals will find it even more difficult to find jobs. Employers are cutting back as it is. Higher minimum wages translate into fewer available jobs for the young and unskilled. In a time when many skilled individuals are losing their jobs and are more willing to take any job available, the bottom rung of the ladder, usually teens and the uneducated, will have even more difficulty finding work.

Would you rather have a job that may not pay as much as you would like, or no job at all?

I’d prefer having a job.

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