Illustration for article titled Minimum Wage and 3.7% Unemployment
Illustration for article titled Minimum Wage and 3.7% Unemployment

We’re approaching the longest interval between federal minimum wage increases. With Amazon’s recent decision to pay all U.S. employees at least $15 per hour, it will be interesting to see what other big employers do in response. Clearly, if Walmart and others (national fast food, retail & grocery chains) follow suit, almost everyone would have to pay more to compete for workers (which are already very hard to come by). Hard to imagine a wage increase will come under Trump, so if the economy stays strong and he manages to win again (please no) in 2020, that would make it 15+ years before the minimum wage law is revised.


In 1993, my first “real” job at the grocery store down the street got me $5.15 an hour (what Wyoming/Georgia would prefer to still pay people today!). That was a little more than the minimum at the time - inflation adjusted, that’s $9/hr.

Thoughts on this? What should the national minimum wage be? Clearly, some places are much cheaper to live than others, which is why many states have their own laws. If the market makes the correction itself (paying more - supply/demand), is it really necessary? The need for it is clearly not as great in good times than in lean times, when lots of people are out of work and desperate for anything.

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