In a recent round-up of the research, labor economist David Neumark for the San Francisco Fed, wrote that among studies that find an effect, a reasonable estimate is that employment falls 0.1 to 0.2 percent for every 1 percent increase in the wage floor. That comes out to about 100,000 to 200,000 jobs lost nationally from wage hikes since just before the Great Recession.
"This is a small drop in aggregate employment that should be weighed against increased earnings for still-employed workers because of higher minimum wages," Neumark wrote. "Moreover, weighing employment losses against wage gains raises the broader question of how the minimum wage affects income inequality and poverty."
In Neumark's view, much of the benefit of raising the minimum wage does not go to poor families. (Consider that 46 percent of poor workers have hourly wages above $10.10, and that many minimum-wage workers are non-breadwinners from wealthier families). Other policies, like the earned income tax credit, may be a better way to help lift families out of poverty.
In the end, it's possible that the ultimate effects of state minimum-wage hikes could differ between states and over time, so it's hard to know exactly what economic trade-offs state legislatures are making.