Time will tell what minimum wage hike’s effect will be

Monday minimum wage earners across Michigan will get a wage increase.

Thanks to approval by Michigan legislators earlier this summer, minimum wage earners will see their hourly wage go from $7.40 an hour to $8.15, an increase of 75 cents an hour. The last increase in the state’s minimum wage was six years ago. The legislature’s action will result in three other increases over the next four years, with the rate eventually reaching $9.25 in 2018.

What might Michigan residents expect as a result of the increase Monday?

For employees who work at minimum wage jobs, obviously it will mean more money in their wallets each pay period. For some, however, it also could result in unemployment. Depending on the number of minimum wage employees a business has employed, some employers might decide the increase in their payroll can best be absorbed through reducing a workforce.

Still other employers might look to increase pricing of their products to compensate for the additional costs they now will incur through the increase. This would impact consumers of their goods, whether it be fast food or beverage purchases at the convenience store.

Ultimately, Monday’s increase probably will have minimal impact on state residents. However, it does serve as a good time to remind ourselves that if we really want to help people get better paying positions, the answer is not to raise the minimum wage, but rather to remove the barriers that prevent people from obtaining jobs in the first place.