Jack W. Carlson, vice president and chief economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday that a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage would deprive the economy of more jobs than President Carter's $31 billion economic stimulus package would create.
The proposed legislation, introduced by Rep. John H. Dent (D-Pa.), would tie automatic future increases in the minimum wage to the average hourly earnings of production workers in the manufacturing industry.
The bill provides for an increase in the minimum wage to $2.85 or 55 per cent of average manufacturing wages 30 days after passage. Additional increases in January 1978 and every following year would maintain the wage at 60 per cent of average manufacturing wages.
Carlson said that under the proposed legislation, some workers would lose jobs or be priced out of the market while others would receive higher wages. "The trade-off is cruel to other workers who are forded to become unemployable because of the higher minimum wage level," he said.
Carlson also said that according to the analysis of the bill by the Chamber's economic policy division:
The higher wage levels would eliminate more than 2 million full or part time jobs, while the administration's stimulus program would create about one million jobs.
Teenagers, minority workers, older workers and women would be victims of discrimination, since higher wages will make them unemployable or less likely to be hired.
Inflation would rise by as much as 3 per cent.
Built-in cost-push inflation would be created for future years.
Carlson discussed the Chamber's analysis of the bill at a new conference yesterday.