Townhall’s Political Calculations found that Washington, D.C. tops the list for the worst teenage employment/population ratio in the United States. Based on their chart, it appears that only 15 percent of D.C. teenagers age 16 to 19 are actually working, and they have taken the lead with dismal statistics for many years. Keep in mind that last year, D.C. fought tooth and nail to keep Walmart from building stores in the District by attempting to impose ridiculously inflated wages specifically geared to large retailers. According to the District council members’ rationale, it was better to have no entry level jobs in D.C. than to have those that did not pay a “living” wage, although the District’s current minimum wage increased to $9.50 an hour on July 1.
Also in the bottom ranks are California and New York. What state has the best teenage employment? North Dakota, with more than half of its 16-to-19 year olds working. If you recall, North Dakota’s economy is booming thanks to oil and gas development, and its overall unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation.
Of the five worst performing states and D.C., three of them have a minimum wage above the federal minimum. Of the five best performing states, none of them has a higher minimum wage than the federal mandate of $7.25 an hour. So maybe economic growth is the key to employment after all, not artificial wage hikes.