Newsmaker:  Feb 4, 2020

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce is unsure whether the minimum wage increase that took effect in January, will have a long term positive effect on the business climate in Missouri.

Karen Buschmann, VP of Marketing, Missouri Chamber of Commerce

 

The wage right now in Missouri is $9.45 per hour, and is set to rise multiple times in the near future, to $12 per hour in 2023. Businesses and retailers that take in less than $500 thousand are exempt from the state minimum wage requirement.

The state’s previous practice was to comply with the national minimum wage, but many states go above and beyond that. Missouri’s state minimum is now highest compared with all surrounding states, except Arkansas. Next year, 2021, Missouri will surpass Arkansas’ minimum with a wage hike to $10.30 per hour.

Karen Buschman says, despite the fact that businesses have to comply with the wage, they will find other ways to decrease costs. Fewer hires, and automation are options.

Some business migration could end up crossing Missouri into border states. Buschmann also worries businesses that rely on minimum wage workers may no longer consider Missouri as a good candidate for location.

Buschmann indicates, the paradigm that low minimum wage hurts growing families is mostly false, given that a majority of those workers are seeking their positions as a means of initially entering the workforce. Neither is the minimum wage, in many businesses, considered a permanent situation.

The Missouri Chamber considers the job market, free of arbitrary or artificial controls, the primary indicator for what a bottom-tier wage should look like.

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