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Higher Minimum Wage Could Be Harming Young, Uneducated Workers, Study Shows

Minimum wage workers in 14 states saw a boost in their paychecks entering 2016, but some economists say the shift to a higher minimum wage could be bad for younger and less educated workers.

According to a study by economist Jeffrey Clemens of the University of California at San Diego, only 28 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 30 without a high school diploma held a job in 2010, MarketWatch reported. This is a significant drop since 2006, when 40 percent of these people held jobs. The study, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in December 2015, also showed that only 33 percent of these people were employed at the end of 2014.

“The evidence supports the view that this period’s minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on low-skilled workers’ employment,” Clemens said in his study.

The impact on less educated workers isn’t confined to minimum wage positions either -- across the board, people without at least a high school diploma are taking financial blows, despite the rebounding economy.

Although Clemens’ study focuses on younger workers, other studies indicate that those who don’t pursue an education through high school may also have a more difficult time making ends meet as they get older.

The New York Times reported in April 2015 that the Brookings Institution found men without a high school diploma between the ages of 30 and 45 saw their earnings dip 20 percent between 1990 and 2013, adjusted for inflation. 

The situation shows no signs of improving. Industries that don’t require skilled workers, such as manufacturing, are dwindling with the rise of globalization and more advanced technology.

Sources: MarketWatch, National Bureau of Economic Research, The New York Times / Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue/FlickrThe All-Nite Images/Flickr

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