Great intentions. Bad results. The problem with a $15 minimum wage in America


OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 12, 2016—Express Employment Professionals released a new white paper today, staking out a position on whether to raise the minimum wage to $15.

Great Intentions. Bad Results. The Problem with a $15 Minimum Wage in America” draws on the real-world experience from Express experts across the country and outlines the many negative consequences of a significant minimum wage increase.

There are serious potential consequences to raising the minimum wage to $15 that cannot be overlooked. As the paper outlines, these include:

  • Fewer job opportunities for young workers
  • The increased reliance on automation and the displacement of workers
  • Decreased hiring, especially by small businesses

Surveys on the minimum wage also reveal concerns among business owners—and even among the unemployed. An Express survey of businesses found:

  • 37 percent said they would increase the price of goods or services
  • 30 percent said they would eliminate positions
  • 20 percent reported that they would increase other wages in their companies

An Express poll of the unemployed conducted by Harris Poll earlier this year found:

  • 52 percent of the unemployed said raising the minimum wage to $15 would decrease the number of jobs
  • 20 percent said it would create more jobs
  • 27 percent said it would have no impact

Express is issuing a clear call to action to lawmakers and the general public:

  • Pay attention to the unintended consequences
  • Avoid cookie cutter solutions
  • Focus on growth, and wages will follow

The paper pulls from research and case studies on the topic and also features insights from Express owners and franchisees from multiple regions and metropolitan areas:

  • Jake Domer, Owner, Express Employment Professionals, Bellevue, Washington
  • Daniel Morgan, Owner, Express Employment Professionals, Birmingham, Alabama
  • John Calabrese, Owner, Express Employment Professionals, Utica/Rome, New York
  • Leslie Hackett, Franchise Developer, Express Employment Professionals, Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Ronnie Morris, Owner, Express Employment Professionals, Jackson, Tennessee

“I think people calling for a higher minimum have the very best intentions. Unfortunately, when government tries to raise wages artificially, some people will win but many people will lose,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “People deserve a raise, and the best way to provide it is through a growing economy where workers are in high demand.”

About Robert A. Funk

Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 760 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals

Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.02 billion in sales and employed a record 500,002 people in 2015. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit