Recent survey by Duke on minimum wage. Findings include:
• Few affected firms would lay off current employees if the minimum wage is increased to $8.75 but 46 percent would lay off employees at $15.
• Future employment growth would be curtailed at 35 percent of affected firms if the wage were set at $8.75, while two-thirds would curtail future hiring at $15....
• Nearly 20 percent of affected firms would reduce employee benefits or increase product prices if the minimum wage were increased to $8.75; approximately half would do both at $15.
• About 30 percent of affected companies think their ability to attract higher quality workers and reduce turnover would improve if the minimum wage were increased to $10, while about 40 percent feel the same at $15.
• In general, firms indicate they could reasonably accommodate a modest hike in the minimum wage to $8.75 but substantial negative consequences would kick in as the wage approaches $10.
• An ongoing shift away from labor and towards machinery will accelerate if the minimum wage is increased.
“It is important to put these findings in perspective,” said John Graham, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey. “For one thing, these results primarily apply to employees who currently earn less than $10 per hour, which is about
one-fourth of the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among firms employing these low-wage workers, the expected effects of proposed minimum wage hikes are dramatic. According to CFOs at these firms, the low-wage employees that increases are designed to help will also bear significant employment risk, potentially losing their jobs as firms implement labor-saving technologies.”