"The labor market absorbs the minimum wage," said Reich. "Turnover goes way down when there's a minimum-wage increase. Employees -- when they stay longer, they'll be more experienced and more productive. And the employers will have lower turnover costs."
According to Shierholz, jacking the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 would give a raise to 10 million workers, including many currently earning their state minimum wage. That could ultimately pump as much as $9 billion into the economy, she said. "At a time like this, there is nothing else putting upward pressure on wages.