Noted in passing: The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled The “Lost Wages of Youth” that claimed the recent increase in the minimum wage had caused a rise in unemployment in teenagers. It’s behind a subscription wall, but you can read their data at New Republic, courtesy of Jonathan Chait. WSJ even published a line graph showing increases in teen unemployment superimposed over a timeline of minimum wage increases, 2007-present.
Now, anyone who has not been in a coma during that time period might have noticed that unemployment is up all over, and not just among minimum-wage earners. So Chait and Brendan Nyhan published another chart that shows teen unemployment has actually gone up less than unemployment as a whole during this same time period.
In other words, although data show a rise in unemployment among teens, there is no reason to assume that minimum wage increases were a cause, never mind the cause, unless you also assume that the rise in minimum wage also caused the nation’s financial meltdown. As Brendan Nyhan put it, “a preliminary examination shows no obvious statistical evidence of a relationship between the minimum wage and the teen or black teen unemployment rates once we account for the upward trend in joblessness.”
Of course. One has to ask, how stupid do you have to be to not have seen the big, honking flaw in WSJ’s presentation? As stupid as this guy.