So the new minimum wage has been in effect for over nine months now, and I thought I'd offer some thoughts:
Last summer I was making seven dollars an hour. With minimum wage going up a dollar, I am now making…eight dollars an hour.
But I'm paying more for everything, right?
Nope. Prices are the local Safeway grocery store Deli (where, trust me, a great many low-income families shop) have not gone up significantly, certainly not the nearly 20% that minimum wage went up; moreover, Montana Safeway stores actually still are being given special exemptions from corporate pricing because wages are so much less in Montana than they are in Seattle, even though prices are in many cases the same.
Has unemployment gone up? Hardly! Helena unemployment is still around 2%, and my place of employment cannot hire enough employees to provide optimum staffing levels.
So…in the experience of a low-income worker, minimum wage increase has had all the advertised benefits, with none of the warned-about downfalls.
Last week I extended my thanks to a man with a Raise Montana jacket on.