Gem State experiences employer’s market
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/07/2013 -- With a new year come and gone, there is some less-than glamorous news for Idaho, as three neighboring states have increased their respective minimum wage higher than the Gem State's.
Idaho did not increase the minimum wage paid to workers for the new year, leaving it behind all three neighboring states.
Due to the cost-of-living increase of $0.15, that occurred automatically, Washington's minimum wage rose to $9.19. Oregon's minimum wage reached $8.95, while Montana rose to $7.80. Washington's minimum wage is now almost $2.00 more than Idaho's.
Experts state that this lack of competitiveness could lead to unemployment troubles, especially for those living in border towns. Commuting to neighboring states for higher-paying entry-level work, or moving altogether could be a fact of the near future.
In a current KTVB online poll, over 60% of individuals state they would commute to neighboring states for the higher wages.
"You have places like Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Lewiston, Moscow, where the difference in the minimum wage is almost $2.00-an-hour. And, the distance to get the difference is a matter of miles," said Bob Fick with the Idaho Department of Labor.
Certain job seekers have already begun the move, by there are still many that have not and cannot. Carol Campbel is one such individual, who works with the Department of Labor's office in Payette. She states that those she sees on a daily basis are looking for a job anywhere. Fick noted that there are currently more than two unemployed workers for every open position, and there just are not enough jobs in any state for job-seekers to be highly picky. "There's a lot of competition for the available jobs, and that takes the pressure off employers to use wages and benefits as a lure."
Fick notes that in more competitive environments, Idaho employers have raised wages to keep workers within the state. That is simply not the case in Idaho, and so most of the entry-level jobs within the state will stay within the minimum wage area. "It's an employers' market."
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