Louisiana’s minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25 an hour—a full one-third less than a single full-time worker in the state needs to support herself, and far less than a single working parent needs to support a family. But even though the vast majority of people in Louisiana support raising the state’s wage floor, opponents claim higher wages would lead to fewer jobs. Now, as Dylan Matthews at Vox reports, a new study evaluating the evidence on minimum wage increases and jobs finds a clear consensus: minimum wage increase give workers a boost, and have at most a minimal effect on employment.
That evidence base is enough for many labor economists, like Harvard’s Larry Katz, to conclude that we know reasonably well that modest minimum wage increases do more good than harm. “I’ve had many students on both sides of these debates,” Katz says. “When [minimum wages] affect non-traded goods sectors, which is largely true in the US, they clearly increase the wages for low-wage workers impacted. They seem to have very modest impacts on employment.”
On the local front, city workers and first responders in Abbeville will get pay raises of about $500 a month starting in January, thanks to an increase in the local sales tax.
The popular pejorative has quickly become shorthand for the philosophical divide between the aging Baby Boom generation and young adults. New research from Kevin Rinz of the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the young people may have a point. The Great Recession – and the decade-long recovery that followed – has affected millennial employment and earnings more than other generations. Kate Bahn at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explains:
Persistent negative outcomes for younger workers demonstrate how inequality reduces economic opportunity for those who have less to start with in terms of jobs and earnings. This demonstrates how the competitive forces of a tight labor market—as measured by low overall unemployment during the now 10-year economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession—does not necessarily translate into better opportunities for all workers, such as higher wages for younger workers. No wonder millennials, whose economic well-being continued to suffer after the Great Recession, roll their eyes when older generations, who lost less of their long-term earnings, claim that structural change is not necessary. These younger workers intuitively understand that structural change may be the only thing that allows for more broadly shared economic growth.
Fair housing discrimination escalates
A total of 31,202 housing discrimination complaints were filed in 2018, a 24-year record high according to the National Fair Housing Alliance. This rise in discrimination complaints comes as fair housing and lending laws are under attack from agencies in President Trump’s administration. As Charlene Crowell of the Louisiana Weekly explains, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed changes to his agency’s rules are an important example of how the administration is rolling back the protections that help disabled people and people of color access housing from an equal footing:
“All the tools and resources we have been afforded by the passage of our Fair Housing Act and fair lending laws are either under attack or being gutted,” noted Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “[W]e must concern ourselves with policies pushed by our federal, state, and local governments that are steeped in hatred and designed to inflict pain.”
Louisiana seeks disaster assistance for seafood industry
Historic flooding and the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway this year cost Louisiana’s fishing industry an estimated $258 million, according to the economic impact analysis the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Oyster lease holders were most significantly affected, losing $122 million. According to Christina Blank at the Seafood Source, economic damages to the state’s seafood industry are profound, going far beyond the amount of aid available, even before other states’ requests are factored in:
It is important to note that fisheries disasters were also declared by the U.S. Department of Commerce in Alaska, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama, and those states are submitting similar economic impact analyses to NOAA in order to qualify for a portion of the $165 million in available disaster assistance.
Number of the Day
76% – The percent of black residents across the South who attribute poor economic situations to a lack of opportunity, compared to just 42% of white residents and 55% of Latino residents. (Source: Divided by Design)