CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio's poorest workers will get a bump in pay next month when the state minimum wage rises 15 cents from $8.15 per hour to $8.30.
About 146,000 Ohio workers who now earn less than $8.30 will see a small raise as a result of the automatic adjustment; another 478,000 earning slightly more will likely get a bump too as employers adjust to maintain pay scales.
The adjustment, put in place in the 2006 minimum wage ballot initiative, will generate over $106 million in wages. "This boost is good for Ohio's economy, since low-income earners are likely to spend their raises to cover the basics," said Michael Shields, researcher with Policy Matters Ohio.
The raise is really an inflation adjustment that acts as a safeguard to protect wages for the poorest earners from slipping backward. The federal minimum wage has fallen by a quarter since 1968 when it was worth about $10.00 in today's dollars ($9.68 in 2016, $10.08 in 2017). Despite the inflation-adjustment since 2006, Ohio's low wage workers are working for less than their counterparts did a half century ago.
Since 1968, Ohio's economy has grown by more than two-thirds. Low and middle income workers have lost ground because that growth has been captured by the wealthiest. Policy Matters Ohio found this July that a $15-per-hour state minimum wage phased in by 2025 could boost the pay of about 1.8 million workers.
"Next week's raise will help poor working Ohioans, but $8.30 per hour still leaves a full-time worker about $3,000 short of the poverty line for a family of three," Shields said. "It's time for Ohio to pass a state-level thoughtfully phased-in $15 per hour minimum wage."