April Employment Report In Focus; Raising The Federal Minimum Wage Fails To Get Needed Votes

globLater this morning that market will digest a variety of economic data from weekly jobless claims, auto sales, personal income,  and construction spending ahead of tomorrow’s closely watched employment report for April.

Analysts are expecting 205,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in April, according to briefing.com, while the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent.

Yesterday Senate Republicans blocked a new measure to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and hour. The measure failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to open up debate in the Senate.

President Obama criticized Republicans for blocking the new measure and said that the majority of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage which hasn’t been increased since 2009 and currently stands at $7.25 and hour.

“So Americans have been way out in front of Congress on this issue.  In fact, about three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage.  And that’s because we believe that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  That’s a basic principle” Obama said yesterday from the East Room.

Republicans have been clinging to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)released in February that claims raising the federal minimum wage could reduce employment.

“Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent” the CBO estimates while acknowledging that the losses could be higher or lower.

According to the CBO’s assessment of the $10.10 option, “there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.”

The CBO report shows that with an increase to $10.10 an hour about 16.5 million would have higher earnings during an average week in the second half of 2016 and the increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion.

President Obama encouraged Americans to tell Congress to increase the federal minimum wage ahead of November’s mid-term elections.

“If your member of Congress doesn’t support raising the minimum wage, you’ve got to let them know they’re out of step, and that if they keep putting politics ahead of working Americans, you’ll put them out of office.  Tell them to reconsider.” Obama said.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

* correction- an earlier version of this post had a repeating paragraph that wasn’t edited properly. My apologies.

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