COMP NEWS – With the recent surge in inflation, some states are looking for a way to keep consumer buying power steady. Washington state announced that for the year 2022, they will be raising their state minimum wage.
Washington’s minimum wage will rise to $14.49 next year, up nearly 6% from the current $13.69, in part to reflect the rising costs of consumer needs like gasoline, housing, household furnishings and food.
The announcement was made on Thursday 9/30 by the state Department of Labor and Industries. This announcement comes amongst other state economic struggles such as labor shortages and supply chain issues, many of which are believed to have led to the current higher cost of living.
Under state law, the department sets the minimum wage for the coming year using a consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That index, updated Sept. 14, found that prices paid by urban workers in August were up around 5.8% nationally and 5.3% in the Seattle area. August prices in the Seattle area were 1.1% higher than they’d been in June, compared with a 0.7% increase nationally.
This increase is expected to primarily affect service industry employees and will serve as a further incentive for those who are unemployed to return to work.
In 2017, roughly two-thirds of those earning the minimum wage or less worked in service jobs, primarily as kitchen employees and servers, and half were 25 or younger, BLS data showed.
Labor shortages across Washington have forced employers to raise wages and offer other incentives. Warehouse operators are offering signing bonuses of $2,000 to $3,000, and fast-food chains are paying starting hourly wages well above required minimums, including $19 at Dick’s Drive-in and $20 at some Taco Time locations.
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