April 3rd, 2011
04:43 PM ET

Employment, Pay, and Opportunity

America's national unemployment rate is 8.8 percent, but for teens, it's much higher (it's over 20 percent by some estimates).  There's a proposal in Maine that could help out with the state's teen unemployment, but there's a catch:  If it becomes law, people who are hired would be making less than the state's minimum wage.

It's called a "training wage," and it would pay $5.25/hour instead of the state minimum wage of $7.50.  And the training wage could be paid for 180 days.  The argument in favor:  With lower wages, employers could afford to hire more workers.  The argument against:  It "devalues" young workers and would pay them less than minimum wage.

So it becomes a question like this:  Would you be willing to accept $5.25/hour if your chances of getting a job were better?  Or would you want to keep your current chances of getting hired - but at $7.50/hour?

Carl Azuz, Anchor

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