$15 minimum wage in MoCo would lead to loss of 47,000 jobs by 2022
If Montgomery County raised its minimum wage from $11.50 — that went into effect last month — to $15 an hour, 47,000 jobs would be lost by 2022, according to a new study. County Executive Isaiah Leggett commissioned the study through PFM Consulting Group to gauge the economic impact of a higher minimum wage. Leggett reluctantly vetoed a $15 minimum wage bill in January, saying it would hurt the county economically.
Most of the positions lost would be low-wage jobs. Because of the job losses, the county would lose $396 million in income between now and 2022, the study found. Survey and focus group results show that $11 an hour is the market rate that would attract low-wage workers to the county.
Proponents of a $15 wage said the study was flawed because researchers interviewed only employers, not employees. Their argument is based on providing a livable wage for all county workers. The study did find that the higher minimum wage would reduce hunger and improve employeesê mental health.
Just before the study came out, Council member Marc Elrich introduced a bill with a longer timetable for smaller employers to comply with a $15 minimum wage. The Council will debate that bill in the fall and will also hear a briefing by the studyês authors then.
The study did not look at the question of how a higher minimum wage might affect jobs that are now low-wage but not minimum wage. Employers might wonder whether the pay for those jobs would have to be bumped up.
Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25/hour, which Virginia has adopted as its minimum as well; the statewide minimum in Maryland is $9.25/hour. Prince Georges Countyês minimum wage catches up to Montgomery next October, which rises to $11.50/hour. DC is 12.50/hour.Download Bulletin PDF