A proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage generated a lot of debate in the Minnesota Legislature last year and is expected to come up again in the next session. The minimum wage in Minnesota generally is $7.25 an hour, although it can be as low as $5.25 in certain cases. In the 2014 session, state lawmakers are expected to debate whether to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, phased in over a three-year period.
A story by Oriane Casale and Mustapha Hammida in the latest issue of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Trends magazine looks at how many jobs in Minnesota pay the minimum wage and how many jobs would be affected if the minimum wage level were increased to $9.50.
According to their research, 101,000 jobs (3.5 percent of all jobs in the state) paid at or below $7.25 per hour in an average quarter in 2012. During that same period, Minnesota had 461,300 jobs (16.1 percent of the state’s total) that paid less than the proposed new minimum wage of $9.50 per hour.
The following industries have the largest share of jobs paying less than $9.50 an hour: accommodation and food service (58.5 percent), retail trade (44.1 percent), arts, entertainment and recreation (41.5 percent), administrative and support and waste management and remediation (30.4 percent), other services (26.8 percent), and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (23.4 percent). In all other industries, fewer than 12 percent of the jobs pay less than $9.50.
A further breakdown of data shows that the Minnesota regions with the highest percentage of jobs paying below the $9.50 threshold were in the northeast (20.4 percent), northwest (21.3 percent) and southwest (21.4 percent). The Twin Cities has the lowest percentage of jobs paying below $9.50 at 13.5 percent.
These figures likely will drop as the economy improves, forcing some employers to pay higher wages to keep workers from leaving for better-paying jobs. But one thing seems clear: Workers in certain occupations are likely to benefit the most if the minimum wage is raised to $9.50, including fast-food workers, cashiers, and packers and packagers.
Read the full story http://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/publications/trends/dec-2013/low-wage-sector.jsp” target=”_blank”>here.