The new year was marked with resolutions and celebrations all over America, but a number of states ushered in 2015 with a raise in job income. Last year, minimum wage workers across the US spoke through protests in order to change the amount of income they were receiving, according to USA Today. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, according to the United States Department of Labor. States like Oklahoma, South Dakota and Nebraska were just a few to raise their minimum wages. Florida was also one of the states to participate, raising it from $7.93 to $8.03, an increase of 12 cents.
“We cannot raise the price of labor and expect the price of other goods to remain the same. It’s simple supply and demand,” said Cassidy Fitzpatrick, a junior economics major at the University of Tampa. “With the minimum wage being raised, then the prices of other goods will also rise as well to keep the markets in equilibrium. This will be a negative impact on workers.”
The University of Tampa’s assistant professor of Economics, Josh Hall explains that the minimum wage increase is not a longterm solution in solving the inequality gap and that it may actually increase the unemployment rate. He expressed that because of this, firms reevaluate their recruitment decisions out of fear that an employee would be too costly.
“If you think about increasing the wage rate, more people are gonna wanna work,” Hall said. “But from a firm’s point of view, they will be like ‘you are too expensive and we don’t want you to work for us,’” Hall said.
The increase of minimum wage in certain states was intended to help low income workers earn more money, in order to sufficiently sustain themselves in the current economy. The minimum wage increases were said to give raises to three million workers within the US in 2015, according to CNN.
“It’s hard when you’re not making enough money to support yourself, especially when you’re just making a few dollars an hour, when it feels like you’re working 12 hours in an 8 hour day,” said Jacqueline Adams, a cook at UT’s Deli service. “I wish the minimum would be increased even more, because I would like to make enough money to pay my bills. You have to get health insurance, life insurance, pay the bills and something’s got to give in order to pay that.”
The minimum wage increase over the years in different states, has also led to an increase in the purchasing power, or the number of goods or services that can be purchased with a unit of currency. Hall reassures that this has led to a decrease in the value of the earning in 2015 as compared to 1980.
“Minimum wage is not just for 16-year-old workers. There are families with men and women over 30 that are living on minimum wage,” Hall said. “When they get that money they’re going to want to spend it whether it’s for food or for buying new clothes or books for school.”
Irene Sidede can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org