SURVEY SAYS: Minimum Wage Increase

October 27, 2014 ( - Last week, we covered a survey that found a majority of employers think their states should increase the minimum wage for employees, with 29% saying $10 an hour is a fair minimum wage.

I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you think the state in which you work should increase its minimum wage? What do you think is a fair minimum wage?”

Among respondents, 24.1% said the standard of living in the state in which they work is high compared to the national average; 48.3% said the standard of living in their work-state is average for the U.S.; 15.5% said it is low; and 12.1% are not sure how the standard of living their work-state compares to the national average.

Slightly more than 60% of responding readers indicated they think the U.S. federal minimum wage should be increased, while 39.7% said it should not. Similarly, 63.2% think the minimum wage in the state in which they work should be increased, and 36.8% do not.

Nearly 31% of readers said a fair minimum wage for workers in their work-state is $10.00 per hour. Slightly more than 18% said a minimum wage in the range of $11.00 to $14.00 is fair. More than 16% said the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour is fair for workers in their work-state, while the same percentage (16.4%) said there should be no set minimum wage. A little more than 9% each chose $8.00 or $9.00 per hour and $15.00 or more per hour as fair minimum wages.

The majority (91.7%) of those who support a minimum wage increase, said they do because it will increase the standard of living for employees. Nearly 42% said they support it because it would help the economy, and 25% chose “It may help employees save for retirement,” as the reason. “It may help my company hire and retain employees” was selected by 16.7% of those who support a minimum wage increase, and “It may make employees more productive” was selected by 11.1%.

The most common reason selected by respondents who do not support a minimum wage increase was that companies may increase prices of goods and services to offset labor costs, cited by 88.9% of those respondents. Other reasons for respondents who do not support a minimum wage increase were selected as follows:

  • It may cause employers to hire fewer people – 66.7%;
  • It may cause employers to lay-off employees – 55.6%;
  • It may hurt employers that are already struggling financially – 61.1%;
  • Companies may reduce other employee benefits to offset labor costs – 61.1%; and
  • It may reduce the amount employers pay higher level employees – 22.2%.


In verbatim comments, some said a free market should set the price for labor, and a few pointed out that employers that support a higher minimum wage could just choose to pay workers more than minimum wage on their own. Others noted there are both pluses and minuses to increasing the minimum wage, and doing so may even end up hurting the people it was trying to help. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Wages should be fair for the work that the employee is required to do.”

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!



Let a free market set the price for labor. As surprising as it might seem, absence of a minimum wage will spur economic and job growth. It will also serve as an economic inducement to develop job skills.

I believe that the minimum wage should be enough that someone working 40 hours per week made enough money to not need welfare to stay above poverty level. I don't think that taxpayers (through welfare) should have to subsidize employer payrolls.

This is a doubled edge question, people need to be able to live and kids to save for college, but if minimum wage goes up so do prices and NOT my income. So the disparity between my 20 plus years of experience, for which I am not paid well already, gets smaller. So, each time minimum wage goes up, my pay in reality decreases since I can afford less and less. FYI, I know this is not on topic, the COLA can increase each year, but for those of us with kids in college, no amount of cola increase can help me save more. My Motto, be nice to your children since you do not know which one will be housing you in retirement!!!!!

Artificial floors and ceilings are always a bad idea. When will we ever learn from our past mistakes with price controls and wage controls?

It's no different than any other expanded benefit. Either something(s) and/or someone(s) will be cut, and/or prices will be raised. To think that such things won't happen, or additional employees will be hired, is very naive, in my humble opinion.

I would think that the need for workers would dictate the wage amount paid. We pay our entry level workers more than minimum wage because we have to just to get people. I think the market place pretty much dictates what people will get paid.

My organization does not have any employees at minimum wage, but we do have retail employees near it as a starting wage. The quality candidates quickly advance and their earnings reflect that. For those employers that indicated the minimum wage should be higher - why don't you just pay them more?

Whether to increase the minimum wage is really a double-edged question --- from an employer standpoint, raising the minimum wage could require some firms to not hire as many people or have as many people on the payroll, requiring those remaining to do more with less. From a personal standpoint, I can certainly understand the reason for increasing the minimum wage.

While I do support an increase to the minimum wage, I also feel that employers should be required to increase current employees’ salaries by at least the cost of living increase each year. I am not a minimum wage employee and I haven't received a wage increase in several years. Pretty soon the minimum wage employees will catch up to my except salary even though I have been with my current employer for over 15 years.

There is great disparity in the standard of living in Florida. Many people can't live on the minimum wage as it currently is.

I fundamentally believe in free markets and accordingly don't believe in a set minimum wage. The idea that a family of four should be able to be supported by a single minimum wage earner seems totally unrealistic to me.

I asked my 22 year old neighbor who is paid the federal minimum wage about this survey. He would LOVE to earn $10/hr. In his words, "They get what they pay for." He said he would work harder if he was paid more. He is constantly looking for a better paying job that could possibly turn into a career.

most jobs at Fast Food Establishments, malls etc are more for students and teens needing extra income they were never meant to be a high pay high advancement job.

Minimum wage is not meant to be a comfortable income. It should be used for those learning to work (high schoolers, teenage babysitters). When the minimum wage is increased too high, then there is no place for these youngsters to gain any experience at all.

Verbatim (cont.)

It's the right thing to do. Every worker deserves to earn a decent wage, and the greedy executives and boards of directors would do well to recognize that!

Wages should be fair for the work that the employee is required to do.

current minimums do not allow individuals to support themselves let alone a family

Minimum wage is typically for entry level jobs. People need to work their way up instead of staying in a job that can't support their family!

The living wage for 1 adult in the county and state that I live in is, according to MIT's Living Wage Calculator, $13.20 hour. The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That's a $5.95 (45.1%) per hour disparity between living wage and minimum wage.

I think the Government should allow any two consenting adults to do anything that they please, including trade services for money at whatever rate they feel is fair.

My city has one of the highest minimum wages in the country. Lots of people want the jobs and it makes for a more competitive working environment. Unfortunately, the higher minimum wage tends to depress raises.

I live in MA, and it's certainly expensive to live the whole state (the Northeast is expensive, in general, from what I hear, but especially house prices), but in the Eastern part of the state, it's astronomical if you're close enough to drive into Boston to work. Even at $10 per hour, a person could not afford to live in Boston or its suburbs without one or two roommates. Although I read somewhere that whenever the minimum wage goes up in a state, then the price of bread and milk and eggs automatically goes up. So a hike in the minimum wage apparently benefits no one. Those selling the milk have to pay higher rates to the dairy employees, and those buying it have to pay more for it. Seems like a vicious circle that will never end.

Minimum wage should be a State issue not a Federal issue. Wages and Cost of Living are not consistent throughout the US.

The types of entry level jobs that are commonly tied to the minimum wage are not intended to be the job someone stays in for the rest of their working life. These jobs are intended to permit individuals to get into the habit of working and to gain skills and experience so they can, on their own, work themselves into better and higher paying positions. Most employers already pay more than the minimum wage. Regarding the survey reporting a substantial number of employers would support a hike in the minimum wage, my comment is this...There is absolutely nothing stopping them, right now, with no change in the law, from paying higher than the minimum wage.

It's not only a tough issue but tough to bullishly support either way. My grandpa used to say "if you blow off the whipped cream it's still a cowpie". So, seems the bottom line is the same - there ain't no free lunch.

I contend that the governmental increase(s) are normally the law catching up with what is already going on in the business place. However, a 40% bump is too much at one time. $8.50 - $9.00 is much more reasonable and doable without disrupting the marketplace.

I believe if the minimum wage was raised too high $15.p/h it would make it impossible for young HS or college kids to find employment and it would also increase the cost of goods sold causing some stores to close down. It's a catch-22 situation.

In a free market, the correct minimum wage is zero. Employees and employers should be free to agree on the proper wage for services rendered. An understanding of supply and demand shows that a floor on wages will distort the market, reducing the amount of work supplied, thus harming the low skill workers the minimum wage was supposed to help. It frightens me that only 9% of business leaders understand such a basic concept. Politicians yes, business leaders no.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.