More evidence of downside of minimum wage hikes: 59,300 jobs lost in Ontario as minimum wage rises to $14

Ontario raised its minimum wage in January. At the same time, a whole lot of part-time jobs disappeared.  CBC News reports:

Ontario shed some 59,300 part-time jobs in January — the same month the province hiked minimum wage some 20 per cent to $14 an hour, but experts say it may be too soon to know how much the two are correlated.

Our bet is the correlation will be hard to deny. The Seattle $15 minimum wage hike had similar job-depressing effects. Additional research shows that raising the minimum wage accelerates automation, reducing opportunities for low-skill workers. And a prominent authority on the minimum wage finds pro-minimum-wage-hike “experts” are working overtime to criticize uncongenial findings. There’s been no shortage of commentary on the Seattle experiment.

Back to Ontario:

Some economists said it’s possible Ontario’s minimum wage increase played a role in those declines, but noted it’s important not to read too much into one month of data. 

We’d agree that it’s still early days. Top officials in the government that boosted the wage make a familiar fairness case.

Ontario’s economic development minister told a roomful of Cambridge employers on Thursday that raising the minimum wage was the right thing to do, but a business leader says local companies are struggling to cope with its impact.

Steven Del Duca, who spoke at a “Good Morning Cambridge” breakfast, organized by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, said the wage increase allows workers to benefit from the economic growth that Ontario is experiencing…

 

“It doesn’t seem fair or right that when our economy is doing so well that many people don’t get to benefit from that growth,” Del Duca said early Thursday at the Galt Country Club. 

Business leaders in province have their own thoughts.

… Greg Durocher, president and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce — which represents 1,840 business owners — said…small businesses in the city are finding the wage increase challenging…

“Our position is that the rapid increase of minimum wage is outpacing the ability of small business owners to be able to increase their own revenue streams in order to accommodate the added costs to the payroll.”

Economists, as we know, will disagree about causes and effects. And time will tell if the trend continues. But it’s also clear that mandated wage bases can have bleak consequences for people trying to gain a foothold on a career ladder and for small businesses struggling to survive.