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    27.1% Youth Unemployment Rate: Minimum Wage Hurting Their Prospects

     A great deal of young people were attracted to Obama’s campaign due to its “hipness” and its ability to organize through social networking sites. However, a year after Obama took office, more young people are waking up and realizing that Obama’s minimum wage policies do not serve their best interest. In fact, young people have a significantly higher unemployment rate compared to any other demographic.  According to the San Fransico Chroncile:

    Prospects for young people are bleak: teenage unemployment is 27.1 percent.

    Forbes Magazine reports that:

    The unemployment rate for those under 25 stands at 19%. Even for college graduates, wages are declining even as opportunities dry up.

    The unemployment rate for African American youth is even higher at 50.4% percent. Half of African American youths that are actively seeking employment are unable to get hired.
     
    On Obama's website he states that he plans to:

    raise the Minimum Wage to $9.50 an Hour by 2011.

    The federal mandated minimum wage prevents young people from obtaining an entry-level position and gaining valuable skills. As economics 101 explains, businesses have a disincentive to hire inexperienced young workers if they are forced to pay them at least $7.25 an hour. As a result, a willing potential young worker may stay inexperienced and unemployed due to the government’s intervention.
     
    According to Joe Sabia, an Associate Professor in Public Policy at American University: 

    A 10% increase in minimum wage reduces retail employment by 1%, and reduces employment among young workers by 3.4%.  Obama’s proposal would raise the federal minimum wage by over 30%, causing even greater job loss at a time when our economy can least afford it.

    A Wall Street Journal article confirms these findings:

    Two years ago Mr. Neumark and William Wascher, a Federal Reserve economist, reviewed more than 100 academic studies on the impact of the minimum wage. They found 'overwhelming' evidence that the least skilled and the young suffer a loss of employment when the minimum wage is increased.

    Individuals that begin working as teenagers are put at a considerable advantage. Studies have shown that workers who do not start working as teenagers will ultimately suffer from longer periods of unemployment and lower long-term wages. High teenage employment has numerous positive externalities-- employed teenagers have a better chance at having a successful productive future career and are less likely to commit crimes.  In addition, they are able to gain job experience, a sense of responsibility and money management skills while building their resumes. Youth unemployment is already at the highest levels since WWII, any minimum wage hike will result in the youth losing more jobs at an unprecedented rate.