U.S. unemployment

Patrick Gibbons

Milton Friedman, like many other economists, argued that raising the minimum wage increases unemployment for low-skill workers. Low-skill workers are most likely to be young adults and minorities (who are more likely to be exposed to a poor system of public education and, therefore, are provided a poor foundation for gaining marketable skills).

So how do the unemployment figures look for young adults and minorities?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among adults in April averaged 9.9 percent nationally but was 25.4 percent among teenagers. White teenagers averaged an unemployment rate of 23.5 percent, while 37.3 percent of African-American teenagers were estimated to be unemployed. There is no data on teenage unemployment for Hispanics or Asians.

There is also a large disparity in unemployment among adults age 20 and older:

White: 9 percent
Black: 16.5 percent
Hispanic: 12.5 percent
Asian: 6.8 percent

Nevada already has the second-worst unemployment rate in the nation – at 13.7 percent. It may increase as the minimum wage in Nevada will increase to $8.25 for wage earners without insurance – $1 higher than the federal minimum. Expect more teenagers and minorities to be unemployed as a result.