Ohio's minimum wage to increase Tuesday
It’s estimated that more than 700,000 Ohio workers will get a pay raise Tuesday.
Depending on whom you talk with, the increase will mean more money for workers, or fewer jobs for people who want them.
The raise is the result of a constitutional amendment Ohio voters approved in November 2006. Ohio’s minimum wage increases according to the rate of inflation.
The increase is about 2.2 percent. Minimum wage will be $7 per hour, up from $6.85 in 2007. The minimum wage for workers who receive tips will go to $3.50 per hour plus tips, compared with $3.43 plus tips.
The increases affect workers for operations that annually gross more than $255,000.
Ohio’s minimum wage is different for smaller companies. Right now it’s $5.85 per hour, same as the federal minimum wage. It will increase to $6.55 per hour in July. The lower rates also apply to 14- and 15-year-old workers.
Washington-based Employees Policies Institute predicts disaster because of the forced increase in the minimum wage.
Policy Matters Ohio, based in Cleveland, contends the higher minimum wage will help put Ohio back on the economic high road.
The differing opinions come from organizations that bill themselves as nonprofit, nonpartisan research groups. Employment Policies Institute says it focuses on studying public policy issues surrounding entry-level employment. Policy Matters Ohio says it is dedicated to researching an economy that will work better for Ohio.
Because of the minimum wage hike, vulnerable groups such as high school dropouts or black teenagers are losing jobs, Employment Policies says. It contends that unemployment rates in those groups rose to 12.8 percent and 27.1 percent respectively.
“When you put increased labor costs on autopilot, while consumer demand and sales are shrinking, you create the recipe for job loss among the least employable workers,” said Jill Jenkins, chief economist for the Employment Policies Institute.
Policy Matters counters the federal government has let the minimum wage deteriorate in real value to the lowest levels in 50 years.
Ohio’s rate hike will give direct raises to an estimated 297,000 workers, and another 423,000 are expected to see modest pay raises as employers adjust to the new rate.
Sixteen Stark County District Library workers who received minimum wage for shelving books got a 25-cent-per-hour raise last week when the library board examined pay scales for the district’s non-bargaining employees. The existing shelvers now earn $7.10 per hour; new shelvers will start at $7 per hour.
Reporter Kelli Young contributed to this report