States with higher minimum wages saw faster job growth in the first six months of 2014 than states that have not raised their wages, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
In the 13 states that have raised their minimum wage at the beginning of the year, jobs grew by 0.85 percent on average. In the 37 states in which the minimum wage remained unchanged jobs grew by 0.61 percent on average, according to state-by-state job growth data released by the Labor Department on Friday.
Nine states raise their minimum wage parallel to inflation: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. And four states recently passed laws raising the minimum wage: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
John Schmitt, a senior economist at the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the AP that the data “isn’t definitive,” but provides a good “first cut” of the impact of minimum wage on job growth.
“It raises serious questions about the claims that a raise in the minimum wage is a jobs disaster,” he said.
Stan Veuger, of the American Enterprise Institute, warned that six months of data isn’t enough information with which to draw conclusions.
“It’s too early to tell,” he told the AP. “These states are very different along all kinds of dimensions.”
The AP noted that there were a few outliers in the statistics. North Dakota had the highest percent job growth of any state in the first half of 2014, but did not raise its minimum wage. And Ohio, which raised its minimum wage by 10 cents, only saw 0.7 percent job growth.