On the first of July, the minimum wage will rise by $1.50 per hour in the Portland metro area and by 50 cents per hour in the rest of the state. While welcomed, the wage hike still falls well short of meeting the basic needs of a family, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
An estimated 301,000 jobs — about one in seven jobs in the state — will see a pay increase, according to the Oregon Employment Department.
“A rise in the minimum wage is good news for workers and Oregon’s economy,” said Daniel Hauser, policy analyst with the Center. “It helps the lowest paid workers make ends meet, and helps the Oregon economy when the workers spend those extra dollars at local businesses.”
The minimum wage law enacted by the legislature in February 2016 set up three different wage levels. The minimum wage will go up to $11.25 per hour in the Portland metro area, $10 per hour in non-urban counties, and $10.25 per hour in the rest of the state.
As a result of the increase, a full-time minimum wage worker in the Portland metro area will earn $260 more per month. For minimum wage earners in non-urban counties and in the rest of the state, the monthly gain will be $87. Those amount to gains of about 15 and 5 percent, respectively.
Industries with high levels of minimum wage jobs, such as food services, have closely tracked Oregon’s broader job market over the past two decades, according to the Center. “Minimum wage jobs, like all jobs, rise and fall with the economy, not as a result of changes to the minimum wage,” Hauser said. “And right now, Oregon has one of the strongest job markets on record.”
Hauser praised the legislature’s decision last year to raise the minimum wage, but added: “The minimum wage increase is still not close to what a family needs to make ends meet. To secure a safe and decent — yet modest — living standard, a single parent raising two children would need to earn about $26 per hour in mostly rural Oregon, and close to $30 per hour in the Portland and Eugene metro areas.”
“Oregon must do more to ensure that all Oregonians have a meaningful opportunity to succeed,” said Hauser.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy (www.www.ocpp.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues. The Center’s goal is to improve decision making and generate more opportunities for all Oregonians.