66,000 Colorado Workers to Get Boost as Minimum Wage Jumps 14Вў

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Jan. 1, Colorado and nine other states will increase their minimum wage, providing a boost in income for nearly 1 million low-wage workers.

In Colorado, the 14¢ increase, to $7.78 per hour, will benefit 66,000 workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). For employees who work full time, the increase means an additional $300 for the year.

Those earning less than the new minimum (57,000 workers) will get a raise in their pay. The increase also helps workers whose pay is slightly above the minimum wage (9,000) as their employers adjust pay scales to reflect the increase. In total, Colorado workers will see an increase in pay of $17.6 million during the year, which will have a spending impact of $11.2 million on the state’s gross domestic product, according to EPI.  

Colorado voters approved Amendment 42 in 2006, which increased the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.85 and required that it be adjusted each year — up or down — based on the rate of inflation in Colorado. Inflation increased by 1.8 percent between July 2011 and June 2012, according to the Boulder-Denver-Greeley Consumer Price Index. In 2010, the wage dropped 4¢ because of negative inflation during the Great Recession; last year, it increased by 28¢.

“Because our minimum wage keeps pace with inflation, hard-working Coloradans can buy the same value of goods and services in 2013 as they did in 2007,” said Rich Jones, director of policy and research at the Bell Policy Center. “Maintaining the buying power of low-wage workers boosts the state’s economy, which benefits all of us.”

The demographic profile of Colorado’s minimum-wage workers shows that most are adults working full-time. Almost seven out of ten are aged 20 or older, and three out of four work 20 hours a week or more. About six out of ten are women. In terms of race, whites make up 55 percent of minimum wage workers and 29 percent are Hispanic. Minimum-wage workers account for 3 percent of Colorado’s workforce.

The other states that adjust their minimum wage based on inflation are Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Rhode Island will join the group on Jan. 1. Nine other states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates set above the federal level of $7.25.

Because the federal minimum wage is not tied to inflation, it loses buying power in most years. If Congress does not act, it is projected to lose 20 percent of its real value in the next 10 years. The federal minimum wage would now be $10.58 if it had kept pace with the cost of living since its peak of purchasing power in 1968.

A wide range of studies conducted over the past 18 years have found that raising the minimum wage is an effective way to boost the income of low-wage workers without hurting employment.

Other facts about the minimum wage:

   • 66 percent of low-wage employees work for large companies, not small businesses.

   • More than 70 percent of the largest low-wage employers have fully recovered from the recession and are enjoying strong profits.

   • 58 percent of the jobs created in the post-recession recovery have been in low-wage occupations.

   • The shift toward low-wage jobs is a 30-year trend that has been accelerating.

(Sources: National Employment Law Project and the Center for Economic and Policy Research)

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    This is bad, right? Tell us how this is bad, trolls.

  2. Pam Bennett says:

    I feel very sad that the minimum wage is so very low.  When I started working in 1962 I earned $1.15/hr. or $8.87 today’s dollars.  It says something about the failure of us to maintain union strength.

  3. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    Because our minimum wage keeps pace with inflation, hard-working Coloradans can buy the same value of goods and services in 2013 as they did in 2007

    It seems to me it should read: pay the same price for goods and services. (my emphases, both)

    Value/price hasn’t been a constant over time. This is the issue being raised over whether or not to “chain” the annual Social Security cost of living adjustment. The much-used example is, a computer bought today at the same price as one last year is much improved over last year’s model, providing more value for the same price (often more value for a lower price).

    The rationale for “chaining” inflation compensation for seniors is, we’ll settle for buying the same value, which will cost us less; therefore we need a smaller annual increase in actual compensation for inflation. The assumption is, as we age: steaks –> hamburger –> chicken –> cat food. Whether or not that’s true, it’s sure a chickenshit way to treat old people.

    But a key word in the above quote in regard to workers’ wages is services, which is not included in the “shopping cart” of goods on which inflation is based for Social Security.

    Things I used to do for myself, I no longer can. (Not talking about health care here.) So I pay more for services. This includes all the “sweat equity” investments in my home, just to maintain its value. Most people my age should stay off 32-foot ladders to paint their house. I used to do that at no monetary cost–as well as re-roof, replace gutters, install water heaters, etc. A new furnace may have more advanced features and increased efficiency (value) for the same cost as the one it’s replacing, but, at my age, it comes at a price for installation. Etc.

    So, yes, I did highjack this thread on workers’ wages in order to try to illuminate the Social Security cut that is sure to come as Obama fritters away his negotiating advantage. But it seemed a good place to sneak in a point:

    Just as an increase in the minimum wage (which should be $12 an hour BTW) for current workers is a good thing, not only for them but for the economy, so is a flat “unchained” annual adjustment for inflation for recipients of Social Security. Neither workers nor retirees should have to settle for cat food.

  4. Albert J. Nock says:

    dollar per hour minimum wage should make every person wealthy!

  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    As the new Front Page Editors, PCG and Moi will now earn 14 cents an hour!

  6. AndrewBateman says:

    Since no one had responded to your comment, I asked a Republican family member this question of how this development could be viewed as bad. This is the main party of his response:

    “You don’t see it as bad because you only see the worker who gets a raise. You don’t see the fixed income senior who now has to pay more for products and services. You don’t see the struggling business man who is being forced to pay his workers above their market rate, and on top of now having to pay for their Obamacare. You see $17million dollars being given to workers. I see $17 million being extorted from businesses.”

    So I guess that’s your answer.  

  7. Diogenesdemar says:

    “earn” and “get paid” . . .  

  8. What’s 1.8% on top of the current FPE wage?

  9. parsingreality says:

    I think I was getting $1.6X a few years after that, although I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Since gas was 29 cents a gallon, that would buy 5 gallons of gas, rounded.  Would require a minimum wage today of $17/hr.  

  10. BlueCat says:

    the payroll tax situation means 2% less take  home pay so….  

  11. parsingreality says:

    …..against any minimum wage.  Wow.

    He is right about one thing, w/o realizing it, I think.  The fact is that for several hundred years there has been a surplus of labor, especially of the unskilled variety, that keeps wages down.  The purpose of a union is to restrict that labor pool in order to demand higher wages.  

    The minimum wage is similar, but attacks the wage floor instead of surplus labor.

    Yes, many employers would hire more workers w/o a minimum wage.  But eight people sweeping floors at %2/hr instead of four at $4/hr gets the economy where?  Or, more likely, four @ $4/hr and the Republican employer pockets the difference.

    So happy to annoy your kin. (I have one family subset also conservative. It pains me although I love them all. We don’t talk politics.)

  12. Diogenesdemar says:

    would be elated, . . .

    What with this kind of whopping salary increase, and only another roughly 10,000 hours of work, just think of all the Bubbas that’ll finally be able to afford to buy that new AR . . . there might even be enough left over for a couple hundred rounds of .223 ammunition!!

  13. raymond1 says:

    … because if you look at the states that DON’T have a state minimum wage law, it’s not a list of awesomely successful free market utopias — it’s a list of inbred backwaters like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and some other shit-ends of the republic, almost all of them with worse (not better) unemployment rates than the national average. As usual, juvenile free-market theory loses out to actual facts.

  14. $100/hr. minimum wage would only serve to artificially inflate the dollar, in the same way that pinball machines now score things thousands of points at a time instead of a couple of points.

    On the other hand, raising the minimum wage for a full-time worker to a point where they’re making enough money that they’re no longer eligible for food stamps and Medicaid seems like a bargain – they get to contribute more to the economy, and the government doesn’t have to pay out money to keep them alive.

    Unless you’d rather they just die off…

  15. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I tried dividing your pay by mine to get a percentage before writing an angry letter to the Guvs, but now there’s this gaping hole in the space-time continuum…

  16. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    this term as you were last time!

  17. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    It sucks that we have to keep explaining rudimentary economics to these people.

  18. parsingreality says:

    ….just before Republican/Wall Street economics crashed us.  Got in before the end times.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it is inflation indexed.  

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