Workers in 20 U.S. states now make a bit more money than they did following minimum wage increases that began on January 1st. Many employees in America applaud the wage increases, but some worry it could hurt their businesses. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.
Rising minimum wage could impact US economyWorkers in 20 U.S. states now make a bit more money than they did following minimum wage increases that began on January 1st. Many employees in America applaud the wage increases, but some worry it could hurt their businesses. CCTV America's Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.
The Five Points neighborhood in Denver is a place rich in history that fell on hard economic times, but the area is on the rebound. Coffee at the Point is part of that resurgence, but business remains a daily challenge.
“We’re still trying to figure out creative ways to actually make sure that all of our staff checks go through,” Ryan Cobbins, owner of Coffee At The Point said.
Now that the state of Colorado has raised the minimum wage paid to workers from $8 to $8.23 an hour, Cobbins’ labor costs are increasing.
“I think that everything helps,” employee Elise Weber said, “I think it makes a huge difference for us in terms of feeling appreciated.”
The minimum wage increases across the country will provide an estimated 3.1 million Americans slightly larger paychecks in 2015.
“It provides the floor particularly for a lot of workers that don’t have a lot of power to bargain very effectively in the market,” Rich Jones, policy and research director of the Bell Policy Center said.
Minimum-wage worker Shelby Ramirez-Martinez said she has trouble juggling her expenses. Her electricity was recently turned off because she couldn’t pay her bill.
“We just can’t afford a lot of things,” Ramirez-Martinez said. “That’s a scary type of life to live. Am I going to be homeless next month?”
A higher minimum wage is designed to help people such as Ramirez-Martinezand and provides a boost to the economy through the extra money she’s able to spend.
Opponents of the wage increase said it will cause employers to hire less people and raise prices.
Ramirez-Martinez doubted the new higher wage will help her much.
“It’s insane. There’s just no way that a family can survive on $8.23 an hour,” she said.
Cobbins, who already pays his employees above the minimum wage, said he thinks they will be more productive, that this pay raise could be a net plus.
“I’m an eternal optimist,” he said, “We want our folks to feel special about working here.”