Minnesota wages lagging despite unemployment being at a 7 year low

Record profits and a seven-year low in unemployment. It’s looking like the tough times from the great recession are behind us. However, while the jobs are coming back, the wages aren’t so much.
Jody Harting, Employment Resource Center president, says, “There’s a shortage everywhere. Right now the economy is back. The manufacturing is going crazy, the building is going crazy and there’s just a shortage of employees out there looking for work.”
State Representative Joe Radinovich (DFL) says, “Some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy are low wage jobs. So either jobs in the service or hospitality industry or in the lower end of the healthcare field. And a lot of those jobs are just above minimum wage, maybe ten dollars an hour.”
But that could be changing soon. With the increase of job opening and an abundance of available workers, we’re starting to see employers begin to compete for workers.
Harting says, “And they maybe changing jobs for fifty cents an hour. You know it’s definitely an employee market out there. It puts them in the driver seat a little bit more because everybody’s short of qualified candidates to get their jobs done.”
A quick look around Brainerd and you’ll see a lot of now hiring signs like this one. It’s a sign that the unemployment rate is down and Minnesota is getting back to work.
Harting says, “I don’t know where those 7% are, because there are jobs out there. You drive around town and every single place has a now hiring signs and we’ve been bombarded with businesses that we haven’t worked with in the past looking for help.”
And for those bigger companies that are still offering low wages to their employees, local politicians say there’s something you can do about it. In the meantime those making the lowest will get a bump next month when the minimum wage goes up August 1st.

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