Job numbers improve after wage jump – but a biz group wants planned hikes halted


Minnesota's largest pro-business advocacy group wants to nix the planned rises for the minimum wage before they even happen. And it comes at a time where the state is reporting some of its best job numbers in years, just months after a minimum wage hike went into effect.

MPR reports the state's Chamber of Commerce is hoping to eliminate or slow down the automatic minimum wage triggers that were put into place earlier this year as part of the newly-passed law.

In addition to planned rises over the next two years (from $8 to $9.50 an hour for large businesses, and $6.50 to $7.75 an hour for smaller ones), an automatic increase tied to inflation is set to kick in starting in 2018.

The Chamber of Commerce bills itself as the state's largest business advocacy organization, representing more than 2,400 businesses across Minnesota. In 2010, CityPages described the chamber as "the 800-pound gorilla in the Capitol," noting it spent "twice as much on lobbyists as any other organization in the state" in 2008.

What the chamber wants to change

For the upcoming lawmaking session, it's mainly looking to scrap the inflation portion of the wage increases.

Ben Gerber, the group's labor policy manager, told MPR lawmakers should have to consider an increase year-to-year rather than relying on an automatic process. In addition, he said greater Minnesota businesses will be particularly hurt by the rising wage.

Gerber also told the Associated Press repealing or slowing down any of these new laws could be difficult, since the Democrats control two of the three bodies who decide that (the state Senate and the governorship).

Job numbers have been good, however

The chamber's concern comes despite a string of recent positive news for Minnesota's economy in recent months, even after the first minimum wage jump in August.

The state's most recent unemployment report, released Thursday, tallied a jobless rate of 3.7 percent – the lowest it has been since May of 2001, and significantly lower than the national rate of 5.8 percent.

Of the 6,600 jobs gained in November, 92 percent went to the leisure and hospitality industry, such as restaurants and hotels – which the Star Tribune points out was one of the areas people were most concerned about taking a hit when the minimum wage began going up.

November was one of the two best months on record (the other being in September of this year) for hiring in hotels and restaurants, the paper says – though it does come after a fairly steep drop in October.

State Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), released a statement Thursday, saying the news "flies in the face of the doom and gloom promised by Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce, who claimed that any increase in the minimum wage would devastate Minnesota’s economy."

Next Up

Jaden McDaniels

Wolves lose to Magic on Cole Anthony's buzzer-beater

The Wolves blew a 20-point lead as the Magic defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

J.A. Happ

Twins sign veteran J.A. Happ to add to the rotation

The left-hander will get a one-year, $8 million deal from the Twins.

storm the capitol rally st. paul minnesota state capitol

BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among those at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 12.27.04 PM

Man's vehicles crushed by hit-and-run driver weren't fully insured

The goal is to raise $25,000 to help the south Minneapolis resident.

Joe Biden

Key points from Joe Biden's first speech as POTUS

The 46th president called for unity at a time America is facing huge challenges.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 20

The 111 ICU patients is the fewest in Minnesota since there were 109 COVID patients in intensive care on Oct. 1.


Here's what Amy Klobuchar said at Joe Biden's inauguration

The Minnesota senator was one of the leader organizers of the inauguration.

covid-19, vaccine

All of this week's COVID vaccine pilot program appointments are filled

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Osterholm affidavit ahead of George Floyd trial warns of COVID worsening in March

Prosecutors want to delay the Chauvin trial due to a public health threat.