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Oregon's minimum wage jumps on Sunday



Oregon workers earning the minimum wage will receive a salary increase on Sunday.

The minimum wage in the Portland area will increase by 6.7 percent or 75 cents to $ 12 an hour. For a full-time employee, that means more than $ 1,500 more per year – and nearly 4,700 additional since spring 2017.

Sunday's rise is the second in a series of annual increases approved in 2016 to raise the minimum wage Minimum wage in the Portland area rose more than 15 percent last year, the first year of the new pay plan.

Oregon legislators endorsed the more aggressive minimum wage increases in hopes of reducing income disparities between the state's wealthiest residents and those at the bottom of the pay scale.

The minimum wage is different for the state and contributes to different living costs. In most states, outside the Portland region, hourly wages will increase by 50 cents to $ 1

0.75 from Sunday. It will be $ 10.50 in 18 largely rural counties.

Oregon has one of the highest minimum hourly wages in the nation. For comparison, it's $ 13.25 in the District of Columbia, $ 11.50 in Washington, $ 11 in Massachusetts and California.

Like Oregon, some cities and other jurisdictions have higher minimum wages. In Seattle, it's $ 15 an hour for large employers who receive $ 15.45 medical benefits for those who do not have medical services.

The Oregon Employment Department estimated that 7.4 percent of all Oregon jobs paid the minimum wage last summer, 160,000, in total. The average hourly wage for all employees in Oregon is $ 18.59.

Economists remain divided on the overall economic impact of minimum wage increases. Some evidence suggests that employers are starting to cut jobs when hourly minima are getting too high; others say that higher minimum amounts have a relatively small impact on employment and reduce workers' dependence on public services.

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis estimates that the state will have 40,000 fewer jobs by 2025 than if it had not accepted higher minimum wages. These are generally not dismissed workers; Rather, employment growth will decline only very slightly over the next few years.

The economy of Oregon is growing and the unemployment rate has dropped 4.1 percent on an all-time low to experience a severe labor shortage. Companies report that nearly two-thirds of job opportunities are difficult to fill with qualified applicants.

Such conditions will dampen the impact of the rising minimum wage in Oregon, according to economist Oregon Josh Lehner.

"In the tight labor market today," he said, "raising the minimum wage is less problematic or less binding, as workers' wages rise because of the strong economy."

Correction: The minimum wage of Portland rises by 75 cents an hour Sunday, while the hourly minimum in other parts of the state rises by 50 cents. The headline of this article originally states that the 75 cent increase is nationwide.

– Mike Rogoway | twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

        
        
    


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